F.J. Ossang – La dernière énigme (1982)

Inspired by Gianfranco Sanguinetti’s On Terrorism and the State. Shots of the orbital road, the Arc de Triomphe and rebellious blindfolded youths in a gunfight.

In-between essay and fiction, La dernière énigme established Ossang’s formal territory: a contemporary mythology. Inspired by the book On Terrorism and the State by Gianfranco Sanguinetti, it evokes visual echoes of political events, where a generation forfeits all revolutionary aspirations due to state terrorism. Shot using two cans of Kodak XX 16mm film. Continue reading

Larry Gottheim – Four Shadows (1978)

Like constellations wheeling round, a double chain of four image segments and four sound segments wheel past each other in sixteen combinations (a family of Gibbon apes, a landscape measured, a shadowed diagram after Paul Cézanne, a wintry urban scene, a text by William Wordsworth, a climactic scene from Claude Debussy’s opera “Pelleas et Melisande”). The stately ceremony can generate rich sensuous cinematic pleasure as well as a free-flowing stream of associations. Containment and flowing free, these are some of the issues. The third film in the Elective Affinities cycle. Continue reading

Davor Sanvincenti – Skoro ništa: i dalje noc AKA Almost Nothing: So Continues the Night (2017)

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For us, a thought always presupposes a society, a culture, and, above all, the consciousness of time. The film revolves around a light bulb like the Earth around the Sun. Light makes the film visible. In the orbit of the film tragedy and our reality, the image resists the cruelty of the experiment. Continue reading

Anton Vidokle – Immortality and Resurrection for All! (2017)

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Today the Russian philosophy known as Cosmism has been largely forgotten. Its utopian tenets – combining Western Enlightenment with Eastern philosophy, Russian Orthodox traditions with Marxism – inspired many key Soviet thinkers until they fell victim to Stalinist repression. In his three-part film project, artist Anton Vidokle probes Cosmism’s influence on the twentieth century and suggests its relevance to the present day. In Part One he returns to the foundations of Cosmist thought (This Is Cosmos, 2014). Part Two explores the links between cosmology and politics (The Communist Revolution Was Caused By The Sun, 2015) and Part Three restages the museum as a site of resurrection, a central Cosmist idea (Immortality and Resurrection for All!, 2017). Continue reading

Lois Patiño – Fajr (2017)

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In the Moroccan desert night dilutes forms and silence slides through sand. Dawn starts then to draw silhouettes of dunes while motionless figures punctuate landscape. From night´s abstraction, light returns its dimension to space and their volume to bodies. Stillness concentrates gaze and duration densify it. The adhan -muslim call to pray- sounds and immobility, that was condensing, begins to irradiate. And now the bodies are those which dissolves into the desert. Continue reading

Albert Serra – El cant dels ocells AKA Birdsong (2008)

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The sublime and the mundane run hand-in-hand in Birdsong, Albert Serra’s stunningly photographed, intensely contemplative re-telling of the biblical journey of the Magi. Much of the sublimity derives from the film’s visuals, superbly tactile black-and-white images alive to the textures of the rocky landscape, which, along with the precise gradations of lighting (each scene seems shot at the one exact moment of day when its creation was possible) and the rustling of wind on the soundtrack, imbues the barren land with a richness of meaning commensurate with the Magi’s divine mission. Continue reading