23 Oct 2019

A Selection of Recent Artworks (III)

Recently, I started a new series of monochromatic collages which are titled in Italian, all because a Fellini's film crossed my mind while I was working on the initial piece, though there may be some subconscious reasons as well. Down below, you'll find all of the 11 'Bianco/Nero' artworks created so far, as well as the latest Every Sun That Died spin-off called Salvador which I probably won't share on my Facebook page for the obvious reasons.

During this week of blog-silence, I watched more than 100 short films submitted to the first edition of Kinoskop festival, so I'd like to remind the filmmakers who work with celluloid that they can send us digital copies of their 2018 and 2019 films (Vimeo or DropBox links) to kinoskopfest@gmail.com or via FilmFreeway, until November 10.

Niccolò: L'Avventura Cosmica


L'Ultimo Viaggio di Cleopatra


Il Cacciatore di Sogni: La Grande Fuga


Il Racconto di un Fabbro e una Musa


Futuro il Barbaro: Le Due Presagi


Il Canto Triste della Sirena


L'Incantatore di Coniglie Arcane


Guarda, ma non Toccare!


Il Suo Grande Debutto


La Bella Distopia


Dentro il Buco Nero


Salvador

16 Oct 2019

Kinoskop

The end of November in Belgrade will be marked by the soft flickering of grainy imagery in the dark, all by virtue of Kinoskop - the first international festival of analog cinema and audio-visual performance. For me, it is a great honor to debut as a curator of such an event, so I'll take this oportunity to express my utmost gratitude to Marko Milićević - one of the founders of the Kino pleme, film lab equppied for working on analog film formats - who initiated the said festival and kindly invited me to join him on this 'analog adventure'. Call for entries has been opened and several pieces has already been submitted!

We’re accepting films (shorts, features, animation and documentary) shot on / which integrate (found footage) some of the following formats : Super 8mm / 16mm / 35mm  which can be send in digital copies via our e-mail : kinoskopfest@gmail.com

Films should be made since 2018 and with no limitations in length and can be sent as a passworded Vimeo link, or via Dropbox.

Films will be awarded in the categories : Grand Prix, Best Soundtrack and Audience Award. Members of the jury will be announced on our page and website.

Deadline for submissions is November 10th.

For more info on Kinoskop, visit the official page.
You can also follow us on Facebook.

11 Oct 2019

Undone (Hisko Hulsing, 2019)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼ out of 10☼

If you're a sucker for picturesque rotoscoped animation (think Scanner Darkly occasionally meeting Loving Vincent), enjoy the reality-questioning narratives involving Aztec shamanism and time-space distortions that could (not) be caused by the main character's deteriorating mental health, and you're able to tolerate the clichés of a dysfunctional family melodrama interwoven with the character study of a broken woman, the investigation of mysterious deaths and the exploration of the secrets of the universe, then you'll definitely be in for a great treat with the genre-bending mini-series Undone which provides the viewer with a solid blend of well-rounded characters, trippy eye-candy and head-scratching brain-food.

6 Oct 2019

Exogenesis Trilogy (Angelina Voskopoulou, 2013)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼ out of 10☼

Silently floating in space, the illusion of her body gets liquefied into amorphous abstractions of deep purples and ethereal blues, piercing magentas and puzzling turquoises. At once radiant and opaque, she - a primordial force majeure - exists on both sides of the endless mirror of the universe. A star breath away from eternity, her feet rest on the imaginary ground, for a brief moment that seems to last longer in an elegant dissolution of time. Through a supernova sauté, she invokes Chaos, and instantly sways it away with her hair. The seed from her left eye becomes the light and ignites the night...

Based on the hypothesis similar to panspermia, as well as on Voskopoulou's yearslong exploration of 'minimal movement' and meanings that may be contained within empty space (i.e. void), Exogenesis Trilogy can be best described as a cosmic dance fantasy. Almost completely devoid of words, except for the chapter titles and a few Khalil Gibran's verses, it sees the performers transforming into alien entities or goddesses before our eyes, all by virtue of choreographed movements and the magic of digital manipulation. From the hypnotizing underwater scenes that pull you into another dimension to the incandescent conclusion of utmost intensity, this luminous phantasmagoria is replete with delicate, sublime imagery celebrating female body and elevating it to transcendental heights. As the physical becomes spiritual, the viewer who's immersed in mysterious beauty dreams awake 'at the very boundaries between the inner and the outer world', as the official synopsis suggests. Transfixed, we melt together with the poetic visuals wonderfully complemented by Stelios Sarros's haunting score.

2 Oct 2019

Moon Tiger Movie 4 (Maximilian Le Cain, 2019)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼ out of 10☼

"The act of dreaming is difficult, because it is an act of passivity."

The final Moon Tiger Movie begins with an arm emerging from the water and grasping for a raft. Could that be an artist clinging to his art - a life-saving act or the dearest of lovers? Whatever the answer may be, Maximilian Le Cain doesn't leave much room for contemplation, as the viewers soon find themselves distracted by vintage erotic provocations. What follows in the elusive procession of non-sequiturs is a mellow stream of poetic voice-overs operating as an overture to what may be interpreted as an unconventional, heavily deconstructed romantic drama in which different actors portray a couple of main characters.

Of course, this is just an oversimplification of MTM4 which - unsurprisingly - comes off as pretty challenging, formally as well as content-wise. It appears as the most personal of the bunch - a film-performance defined by life defined by cinema, as well as the most talky and lyrical, with the author's emotions swinging back and forth, mirrored in the brittle images. Often mirage-like (there are even the shots of a hotel called La Mirage), they are accompanied by muffled, melodramatic music and dialogues from the last century (B&W?) classics, but there's also Tchaikovsky's Swan Theme jumping in when you least expect it.

As the aural and visual harmonically clash, Le Cain plays with us as if we were puppets stolen from a claustrophobic doll-house - at one point, we're lost in a neon-lit hallway and the next we know, we are walking across the bridge and inhaling the smog of a gloomy urban surrounding. In a flickering assault, the female protagonist repeats "there's blood everywhere" which portends an icky zombie-flick homage - a metaphor for a consumptive relationship, perhaps? Both man and woman of that relationship are seen suffering, embracing their loneliness in various ways - if he is the creator's alter ego, then she is his muse or the lovely embodiment of his creation... In the memories of their love, we ascend to the chaotic and crumbling world of dreams.

1 Oct 2019

Cinematic Favorites of September

Focusing on the films released in the last three years, the 9th edition of cinematic favorites brings six features and twelve shorts ranging from brutal pseudo-historical epic to off-kilter subversion of possession horror to ultra-pulpy, deliciously (and deliriously!) trippy fantasy that appears like some hyper-stylized euro-trash sci-fi by way of Cronenberg mind-controlled by Jodorowsky. (The latter refers to Bertrand Mandico's perverse WTFery for French electronic music project M83.) One of the biggest surprises for me (who's not crazy about the western setting) is Emma Tammi's visually and aurally captivating slow-burn debut The Wind - a highly atmospheric psychological chiller / character study which boasts a wonderful central performance by Caitlin Gerard, and which I can still feel crawling under my skin.


Features:
1. Il primo re (Matteo Rovere, 2019)
3. The Wind (Emma Tammi, 2018)
4. Luz (Tilman Singer, 2018)
5. Raiva (Sérgio Tréfaut, 2018)


Short films:
2. M83 – Temple of Sorrow / Lune De Fiel / Feelings (Bertrand Mandico, 2019)

25 Sep 2019

In the Arbor of the Bitter Orange (Sarahjane Swan & Roger Simian, 2017)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼ out of 10☼


One of the most alchemikal collaborations between contemporary experimental filmmakers, In the Arbor of the Bitter Orange exudes with joy and love for creation. Beautifully shot on monochrome Super 8 by Scottish duo of Sarahjane Swan and Roger Simian aka Avant Kinema, it stars Daniel Fawcett and Clara Pais of The Underground Film Studio as a dandy, enigmatic couple harboring a great desire for the titular fruit which grows in the secret garden of a seemingly abandoned house.

Part (neo)surrealist exercise and part poetic exploration of the moving images' power, this seven-minute 'fantasy' enchants with its cinematic purity and sublime simplicity. The locations of the small seaside town of Espinho, Portugal, have a timeless quality attached to them, and the same goes for the quaint black and white visuals that give the impression of a long-lost film from the last century. They have a perfect accompaniment in the haunting, meditative soundscape - Gustav Holst's Venus reconstructed by The Bird And The Monkey (Swan & Simian's music-producing moniker) - lending the film its mysterious appeal.

Daniel & Clara have a whale of a time in their roles, especially during the orange-devouring scene which elicits a comedian out of Mr. Fawcett. Although credited as performers, they do not act, but rather live the slightly twisted reality from their colleagues' (impromptu) vision. After the super-grainy footage rolls backwards, their characters disappear in the rippled surface of the water (in a barrel?), suggesting their short adventure was but a slippery dream.


(The review is based on the private screener provided by the authors.)