Shot on the otherworldly beaches of Morocco in silvery black-and-white 16mm Scope, Ben Rivers’ A Distant Episode (named for the Paul Bowles short story inventively adapted in Rivers’ feature The Sky Trembles…, also screening in Wavelengths) transforms behind-the-scenes footage into a dreamy film fragment depicting sci-fi incursions into a mythic landscape. Read More »
Ben Rivers’ films tend to look outward at the larger world. GHOST STRATA is no exception. But to a somewhat different extent, it also looks in. A film diary, it reflects his globetrotting ways, existing in the margins of his otherwise outward-bound filmmaking style. So landscape plays a huge role, and in fact the film takes its title from a geological concept. As a scientist explains in the film, “ghost strata” are theoretical layers of time. When you see the strata of sedimentary rock, you are given to understand that the space around that rock, the very space you occupy, was once filled with earth as well. Rivers composes the film as a calendar, with 12 sections, one for each month of the year of its making. Read More »
Krabi, 2562 explores the landscape and stories within the community of Krabi, Southern Thailand. A major tourist destination in Thailand, the filmmakers want to capture the town in this specific moment where the pre-historic, the more recent past and the contemporary world collide, sometimes uneasily. Read More »
Ben Rivers is an artist and experimental filmmaker based in London. His work has been shown in many film festivals and galleries around the world and has won numerous awards. His work ranges from themes about exploring unknown wilderness territories to candid and intimate portrayals of real-life subjects. Read More »
To build and create in a way that is open rather than closed: this stated ideal, heard at the beginning, is good for both art and architecture, and holds also for the film itself in its mysterious, associative construction. The images, in their pictorial diversity (black-and-white and colour, sharp and blurry), centre on Churchill College, home to many innovative thinkers since 1960; also seen are a designer’s drawings, owls and snakes, trees and walls. The soundtrack, with rustles, murmurs and clicks, includes words by John Cage and John Ashbery. There’s no story, no schema: only the openness to sensation and connection. Read More »
A Spell follows an unnamed character through three seemingly disparate moments in his life. With little explanation, we join him in the midst of a 15-person collective on a small Estonian island; in isolation in the majestic wilderness of Northern Finland; and during a concert as the singer and guitarist of a black met al band in Norway.
Marked by loneliness, ecstatic beauty and an optimism of the darkest sort, A Spell is a radical proposition for the existence of utopia in the present.
Starring musician Robert AA Lowe (best known for his intense live performances under the name Lichens) in the lead role, A Spell lies somewhere between fiction and non-fiction – it is at once a document of experience and an experience itself, an inquiry into transcendence that sees the cinema as a site for transformation.
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Shooting against the staggering beauty of the Moroccan landscape, from the rugged terrain of the Atlas Mountains to the stark and surreal emptiness of the desert, with its encroaching sands and abandoned film sets, a director abandons his own film set and descends into a hallucinatory, perilous adventure of cruelty, madness and malevolence. A Paul Bowles story combined with observational footage forms a multi-layered excavation into the illusion of cinema itself. Read More »