Monday, January 02, 2017

CLOUD OF SKIN @ Triskel Christchurch, Cork

My feature Cloud of Skin will be screened at Triskel Christchurch Cinema, Cork this January 31st.

Full details here!

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Yevgeny Yufit (1961 - 2016)

2016 is already being commemorated as an exceptionally grim year on many levels. The unremitting torrent of cinema-related deaths that coursed through the last twelve months has been much commented upon, with Daniel Kasman's round-up of 2016's departed providing a bleak overview of its erosive progress. 

Yet the passing of one of the greatest talents that film has recently lost is not only unmentioned in Kasman's overview but appears to have gone entirely unremarked, at least in the West. I only hope there has been more comment in his native Russia...

True, Yevgeny Yufit is hardly a household name. But the mad fury of his nihilistic 'necrorealist' shorts in which only life itself remains in all its spasmodic hideousness and vitality, and the poetically unsettling pseudo-science of features, mean a great deal more to me (and some of my close colleagues) than any number of established household names.

To get the basics about Yufit and Necorealism, I recommend this brief 2013 summation posted by the Obskura website in 2013. It begins thus:

"Originated in the 1980s, Necrorealism was the first Soviet cinematic avant-garde since the 1920s. The name of the new Eisenstein was Yevgeny Yufit."

A good number of his films are available on Youtube. I find them energising and liberating beyond words. Their basis in silent cinema is of particular appeal: in returning to its origins to attempt self-destruction, cinema once again proves its spectral indestructibility.


Friday, December 23, 2016

Season's Greetings from Close Watch

2016 has been a year for cinema marked by death. Christmas is shadowed by the passing of Michele Morgan (1920-2016). On another Christmas, already a quarter of a century ago, as a young teenager I received the (much nagged for!) gift of three recently released VHS tapes of French poetic realist films from the '30s. One of these was, of course, Quai des brumes and my consciousness was all set to merge with the atmosphere, aesthetics and sweet despair of these films. Some rare works of art can change you as a human being, cause you to grow. But even rarer are those that you feel were already somehow inside you: the confirmation and recognition of some sort of feeling or suspicion now given form. Discovering Antonioni was such an encounter, Ruiz another. Films we are waiting for. These three French movies also. I never got over them and I never will. And implicit in this admission is the fact that I never got over Michele Morgan...  

But cinema is, after all, death work and it is still very much alive: changing, shifting, mutating, becoming harder to grasp by the minute. Close Watch faces 2017 with exhilaration in the face of a whole slate of exciting projects. Signing off for now, but check back in after the new year for further adventures... And have a great Christmas, one and all.    

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Introduction Text for Keimena @ documenta 14

I've contributed an introductory text to CAMP's documentary From Gulf to Gulf to Gulf that was broadcast on Greek TV on December 19th as part of this remarkable documenta 14 project curated by Hila Peleg and Vassily Bourikas:

Keimena: a documenta 14 Film Program on ERT2.

Mondays at midnight from December 19, 2016 to September 18, 2017 Keimena is a weekly broadcast of films presented by the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT), and organized by documenta 14. By relying for its presentation on ERT, Greece’s public television broadcaster, the project aims to extend documenta 14’s scope into viewers’ homes, imagining and constituting new and different publics. Keimena’s program focuses on the fields of experimental documentary and fiction, presenting films whose approaches and topics engage social, political, and poetic concerns and whose concepts, themes, and positions are in dialogue with the overall curatorial visions of documenta 14.

Television, both public and private, is a key factor in Greece’s recent history and development. Its important role in mediating and reflecting upon the country’s current socio-economic predicament cannot be overstated. Despite suffering severe budget cuts which affected its operability, ERT remains the official “public” medium, especially in Greece’s collective consciousness; ERT’s controversial closure in 2013 as part of austerity measures generated immediate and extensive protests nationwide.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

EFS @ Berlin Experimental Film Festival

There will be a strong Experimental Film Society presence in the first edition of the Berlin Experimental Film Festival (December 17-18). The official selection features films by Rouzbeh Rashidi, Atoosa Pour Hosseini, Michael Higgins, Jann Clavadetscher and me as well as a live performance by Vicky Langan.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Light / Sound

A huge thank you to all who helped make the Light/Sound event such a good one, especially the participants - as depicted above: Mick O'Shea, Rouzbeh Rashidi, Paul Hegarty, Karen Power, Vicky Langan, Atoosa Pour Hosseini and your sincerely. Photography by Natasha Bourke.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

IN THE PLACE OF ORIGIN @ Light / Sound Tomorrow

In the Place of Origin, the latest Langan / Le Cain collaboration, will have its premiere projection tomorrow night as part of the event Light / Sound: Sound and Moving Image Explored Through Screening, Performance and Discussion. Full details here.

In the Place of Origin navigates a delicate flow between apparently opposite states: self and other, human and non-human, interior and exterior, construction and dispersion. The uncertain limits of the human body gauge the tensions between elements of the material world that pass as strangers but not without reflecting each other in surprising and unsettling ways, stitched and un-stitched by the breath of the wind.