Ben Rivers – There Is a Happy Land Further Awaay (2015)

A hesitant female voice reads a poem by Henri Michaux, recounting a life lived in a distant land, full of faltering and mistakes. Island imagery of active volcanoes, underwater WW2 debris, children playing, and wrecked boats transform into intangible digital recollections of the island, made on the opposite side of the world. Images of the eroded land merge with eroding film, a lone figure on a boat drifts at sea. Continue reading

Errol Morris – Demon in the Freezer (2016)

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Smallpox was always present, filling the churchyard with corpses, tormenting with constant fear all whom it had not yet stricken, leaving on those whose lives it spared the hideous traces of its power, turning the babe into a changeling at which the mother shuddered, and making the eyes and cheeks of the betrothed maiden objects of horror to the lover. (1848)

— Lord Thomas Macaulay, History of England. Continue reading

Ben Rivers – Things (2014)

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Things is a travelogue in which the filmmaker leads himself and the viewer through a tour of the four seasons, without ever once setting foot across his doorstep – focusing on unexplored things inside his own four walls. A year-long journey through domestic surroundings that at the same time is a trip into imagination and collective memory – revealed in the collected fragments of images, film, objects and sounds, a bed, books and, observed through a window pane, a squirrel in the garden.

As the seasons change, parallels and associations are made with things previously seen; an intricate web of clues to a life, there for the viewer to unpick.

Commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella and Gareth Evans. Continue reading

Gustav Deutsch – Shirley: Visions of Reality (2013)

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Quote:
Seldom has the idea of a film as a series of tableaux been so literally appropriate as in the latest work from Austrian filmmaker and artist Gustav Deutsch. Shirley – Visions of Reality is a look at the US from the 1930s to the 1960s as seen through a series of micro-stories set in and inspired by paintings by American realist artist Edward Hopper, painstakingly reproduced and reconstructed in a film studio as life-size sets. Each of 13 paintings is used as the setting for moments in the life of a fictional actress, Shirley (Stephanie Cumming), as she moves through life, houses, trips, situations, and milestones of world history taking place in the exact year of creation of each original painting. Continue reading

Isiah Medina – 88:88 (2015)

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Quote:
The first feature by Canadian experimental filmmaker Isiah Medina is an explosive digital diary dealing with ideas about time, love, philosophy, poverty, and poetry, all erupting within a densely layered montage that is as formally rigorous as it is emotionally raw. The film’s title derives from the reset digital clock display that appears when power is restored to dwellings where it had been abruptly severed because of overdue electricity bills &mdash a meaningless signature that Medina here resuscitates as a double-edged symbol that indicates how those who live in poverty also live in a state of suspended time. Continue reading

Koen Mortier – 22 mei AKA 22nd of May (2010)

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Synopsis:
Sam wakes up, gets ready and goes to do his daily job. And then the unexpected happens. A bomb explodes in the center of the shopping mall where he works. He drags himself towards the entrance to save the victims. One by one he pulls them out, until something terrible takes place. In complete hysteria he runs off till he falls down from exhaustion. A woman’s voice makes him raise his head. She’s one of the victims he saved. She wants to know why the suicide bomber did it. This encounter projects him back in history and even in a surreal world. Thereafter he runs into everyone he saved and feels that their defeat shows many parallels with his own. Even his confrontation with the wrongdoer isn’t that straightforward as he thought it would be and confronts him with the fact that guilt and innocence can be pretty much alike. Continue reading