Robert Beavers – The Hedge Theater (1986-90/2002)

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The Hedge Theater, USA 1986-90/2002, 19 min

Cast: Robert Beavers, Gregory J. Markopoulos

Beavers shot The Hedge Theatre in Rome in the 1980s. It is an intimate film inspired by the Baroque architecture and stone carvings of Francesco Borromini and St. Martin and the Beggar, a painting by the Sienese painter Il Sassetta. Beavers’ montage contrasts the sensuous softness of winter light with the lush green growth brought by spring rains. Each shot and each source of sound is steeped in meaning and placed within the film’s structure with exacting skill to build a poetic relationship between image and sound. (Susan Oxtoby, Toronto International Film Festival) Continue reading

Azadeh Navai – Friday Mosque (2014)

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A silent meditation on the Islamic prayer ritual through motion (water is the core, but light is the cause) in FRIDAY MOSQUE. Shot on high-contrast black and white 16mm film, Navai hand processed the negative and painstakingly contact- printed the strips of celluloid. The resulting image quivers and pulses. Enlarged film grain nearly obliterates the already abstracted image. There exists both a tension and serenity in the flickering frame. Every element is preparing for and anticipating the faithful soul that is summoned to the everyday practice. The silent tune of the calling, Azan, has overtaken. Continue reading

Richard Pinhas & Oren Ambarchi – Tikkun (Rune 389, Cuneiform Records 2014) (2014)

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Richard Pinhas, the founder of 70s progressive legends Heldon, is one of the most uncompromising artists on the international rock scene, having remained constantly innovative and true to his personal artistic vision for 40 years and some 35 full length releases.

Oren Ambarchi is a guitarist, drummer and sound-artist who has performed and/or recorded with a huge array of artists, including Fennesz, John Zorn, Jim O’Rourke, Otomo Yoshihide, Evan Parker, Merzbow and others. Since 2004, he has worked with the avant-metal band Sunn O))), contributing to many of their releases and side- projects. Continue reading

Joshua Oppenheimer – The Entire History of the Louisiana Purchase (1998)

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“In Louisiana Purchase I wanted to examine the whole question of historical memory, the making of history…”
— Joshua Oppenheimer

The Entire History of the Louisiana Purchase is an imaginative and innovative film essay which combines faux and real documentary with lyrical fiction to paint a monstrous yet beautiful portrait of America at the end of the millennium. With unflinching originality, the film meditates humorously on faith, myth, scapegoats, the idea of the alien, the end of the world, and the beginnings of redemption…. Oppenheimer’s monstrous yet charming ‘history of my country’ is written by a poet, sweet and dark, joyous as the wet rats who save themselves from drowning in the film’s last sequence…. It opens a genre of film as revelatory and intelligent dream, stimulant of social memory, and means for re-examining the relationship between fact and fiction, historical truth and social myth.
– Dusan Makavejev, May 1997 Continue reading

Joshua Oppenheimer & Nish Saran – Hugh (1996)

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Hugh is the earliest demonstration of Oppenheimer’s key thesis that hate and extremism are not necessarily disruptive forces – they can be thoroughly bedded into society. The titular subject is an elderly man who makes furniture, teaches children to play the piano and is hailed by his friends as one of the most generous people you’ll ever meet. He also goes into town with his car plastered in sandwich boards and preaches about how homosexuality will destroy civilisation…
Hugh is ten minutes long, but has the complexity and nuance of a feature film, and as a bonus is shot in gorgeous high-contrast black-and-white reminiscent of Marc Singer’s excellent 2000 documentary cult classic Dark Days.
– Graham Williamson 2016 Continue reading

Ranjan Palit – In Camera (2010)

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In this meditative and strident overview of the career of Ranjan Palit, award-winning documentary cameraman, the filmmaker himself shows us the images and questions that have haunted him throughout his 25-year career. Celebrated for films that document the struggles of powerless people to save their homes and ancestral traditions, Palit still questions the good he has done for them and wonders if he’s merely turned their lives into images and then memories that are destined to be forgotten. Continue reading