10 Dec 2019

Holy Sand (Miroslav Antić, 1968)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼(☼) out of 10☼


It is only recently I learned that the prominent Serbian poet Miroslav 'Mika' Antić (1932 – 1986) directed two features which had the misfortune of being brushed under the communist carpet just like many of the Yugoslav Black Wave offerings. His debut Holy Sand (originally, Sveti pesak) - for me, the most precious blast from the past of 2019 - was not officially banned, but it never received regular theatrical distribution.

Told in a lyrical tone, the story revolves around a former political brigade commissar, Aleksandar Vinski (Čedomir Mihajlović, as worn-out as his character requires of him), who returns from the Goli Otok labor camp, only to realize he has been ostracized not only by the society, but by his comrades as well. Neither alive nor dead, he roams the sullen demimonde in the state of pseudo-existence, pushed further into despair by meaningless encounters with other lost souls.

Without any 'warning', his sparse, fragmented narrative jumps back and forth in time, establishing a disorienting atmosphere which is deepened by deliberate discordance between the image and the sound. A perfect example thereof is a brilliant cross-cutting of Aleksandar and a mysterious, mentally challenged girl frolicking around some (WWII?) ruins, and his fellow prisoner having a sexual intercourse with a flirty woman whom the protagonist previously picked up at a bar. Occasionally, the dialogue is completely muted or replaced by the incongruent noises, adding another layer of confusion and simultaneously, putting the viewer in Aleksandar's shoes or rather, head.

What's most impressive about Holy Sand is its black and white cinematography by Petar Latinović. Initially almost expressionist / noirish in its use of shadows, it takes a sharp turn into naturalistic domain, with a few scenes near the end appearing as if they were influenced by the surrealist cinema. The film's formal 'trickery' is (oddly) complemented by unaffected performances from its mostly non-professional cast, and even by a few technical downsides...

The film is available on Delta Video's official YouTube channel, but if you're not fluent in Serbian, I'm afraid that you will have to embark on a bootleg hunt...

8 Dec 2019

Forbidden Without Exception (Dejan Klincov, 1990-1999)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼ out of 10☼

Balancing on a tightrope stretched between political video art and personal experimental cinema (closer to the former point), Dejan Klincov employs dizzying / anarchical stop-frame montage of old photos and postcards, newspaper and magazine cut-outs, documents and found footage, sketches, drawings and paintings to challenge the notion of national identity, blur the lines which separate ostensibly opposed ideologies and reflect on the turbulent Yugoslavian past. The impressive number of images ranging from the depictions of WWII atrocities to Tito-iconoclasm to Makavejev references to fading memories to bridges that separate and residential complexes that alienate converge into a deliberately messy and slightly overlong, yet uncompromising piece of ‘handicapped’ animation which celebrates artistic liberties in the face of an increasingly dehumanizing society.

4 Dec 2019

Zan (Shin'ya Tsukamoto, 2018)

☼☼☼☼☼☼(☼) out of 10☼

Not bad, but neither great, the latest offering from the father of the cult-favorite Tetsuo: The Iron Man is part period drama filled with tropey and sketchy characters, part formal exercise in raw, shaky camera aesthetics and animesque violence, and all an uncompromising, if somewhat clunky deconstruction of the samurai genre that almost appears like Seven Samurai in reverse, interwoven with bizarre interludes. Although the frenzied editing, contrived emotions, fill-in-the-blanks narrative and the mystery surrounding rōnin protagonists do have some charm attached to them, the film's flat lighting often takes away from the beauty of rural locations and thick forests where the increasingly violent action is set. Its greatest selling point is most definitely a gloomy, pulsating score which is the late Chu Ishikawa's swan song. If Zan had been a firsttimer's experiment, its flaws probably wouldn't have felt so jarring... Nevertheless, one viewing won't hurt.

3 Dec 2019

Kinoskop Afterword

The inaugural (read: shoestring-budget) edition of Kinoskop - the 1st festival of analog experimental cinema and audio-visual performance on the Balkans - concluded on Sunday evening, and went pretty well (for a baptism of fire), notwithstanding some unexpected technical hiccups for which the curators, Marko Milićević and yours truly, sincerely apologize. Our profound respect goes to the audience members who were standing during the first day of screenings, because 60+ chairs didn't suffice, and our heartfelt gratitude is sent to all friendly and enthusiastic people involved in making this ambitious dream come true, from the members of the jury, Nina Lazarević, Nevena Popović and Marko Žunić, to the personnel of art space Kvaka 22 who hosted the event, to the great team of musicians and photographers who participated in the 5th anniversary celebration of Live Soundtrack, and the exhibition of analog photos and collages EndFrame(s). The visitors had the opportunity of seeing some pieces of my artwork like never before - as giant projections on the gallery wall, and I have to admit than even I was caught by surprise!

Picked amongst 220 offerings which met our Call for Entries requirements, more than 50 films were shown in seven selections of the main program and four acts of Live Soundtrack. One particular ciné-thingamajig was bestowed with loud ovations, which is why we decided to have another award in addition to the Grand Prix, Best Original Soundtrack and Audience Favorites (to be announced very soon!). Judging by the post-festival commentary, best-received were the alchemical experiments and sci-fi deconstructions, although the subtleties of micro-poetics, non-human explorations and acts of found-footage sabotage, as well as the diversity of documentaries also garnered positive reactions. The highlight of the festival was the aforementioned Live Soundtrack which opened with metaphysical musings of a hyper-cosmic expanded cinema trance Elementary Particles / Where Do We Come From? from the minds of Aleksandar Lazar and Marko Milićević. This hypnotizing, brilliantly conceived multi-channel experience was followed by the powerful post-industrial performance from Tearpalm - Marko Dabetić's one-man project - whose crescendos must've reached the stars along with Emmanuel Piton's Exposed and Müge Yıldız's A Trip to the Moon. Telemach Wiesinger's Wings to Hear was given the dark, moody and, in a way, post-apocalyptic sonic treatment by Dobrivoje Milijanović and Vladimir Riznić of their fresh collaboration Falling Elevator Music, and the last, but most definitely not the least was the masterful improvisation on analog synthesizer by our guest from Brazil Marcelo Armani (under the moniker of Elefante Branco). Giving each film from the medley of political and personal cinema a new aural identity, ranging from edgy (Window Shopping by Michael Woods) to ethereal (Camelia Mirescu's Telluric Beats of Veil), he succeeded in creating a rhythmically compact oneness - a minimalist, contemplative soundscape...

29 Nov 2019

Cinematic Favorites of November

The monthly listicle for November comes earlier than it should, because the beginning of December will certainly be marked by more talks about Kinoskop inaugural edition which is happening this weekend! Considering the activities regarding the festival organization and my ever-growing obsession with collage art, the number of watched films dropped significantly, yet I did manage to compile a diverse selection of nine features and one (animated) short which left me with a strong impression (in one way or another).


The most alchemical piece of cinema / absolute fascination:

A different kind of Russian magic / stylish & jovial rock biopic-musical: 
Leto (Kirill Serebrennikov, 2018)

The finest oldie / a younger, jazz-obsessed brother of The Medusa Raft (1980):
Rdeči boogie ali Kaj ti je deklica (Karpo Aćimović Godina, 1982)

The best short / Surrealism meets film noir in a metaphorical puzzle:

Austere art served unapologetically cold / a glum take on mental illness and suppressed sexuality:
The Mountain (Rick Alverson, 2018)

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned / a solid, but not flawless revenge double bill:
Ready or Not (Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillett, 2019)
The Nightingale (Jennifer Kent, 2019)

Fantasy pack / a bunch of winged creatures & animated, bloodthirsty demons:
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (Joachim Rønning, 2019)
Constantine: City of Demons – The Movie (Doug Murphy, 2018)

Cheesy, derivative and somewhat diverting / psychotic imaginary friends or the evil within:

28 Nov 2019

Autumnal Sleeps (Michael Higgins, 2019)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼ out of 10☼

How do you begin to describe a beautiful (celluloid) dream, one you can't remember in its entirety, yet you're absolutely positive about the firm hold it had over you? Maybe with another turn of an old vinyl whose soft crackling transfigures your memory?

A hushed voice which may be an emanation from another world tells us: "I've been here a long time. How long, I have no idea. I don't remember." And right from the get-go, it sets the ethereal atmosphere of wonder. We don't know where exactly is here, and neither who or what lies beneath the pile of dry foliage on a sofa, yet we feel the warmth of hazy imagery of earthy tones in the subsequent montage which suggests hypnagogical illusion.

Very soon, we are introduced to the strange characters existing at the dawn of cinema, yet simultaneously belonging to one of its many dusks. A wealthy eccentric right out of a steampunk fantasy, Dr. Epstein (Alain Servant), conducts a series of uncanny experiments, subjecting his own adopted sons wittily named Pete and Re-Pete (Henrik Garo and John Linnane), as well as his "darling flapper" Baby Dee (Natasha Everitt) to various tasks. Together with a lady credited as The Somnambulist (Ambra Gatto Bergamasco) whose mental state appears to be deteriorating, they inhabit a remote rural estate. The arrival of The Whisperer (Conn Rogers) and a mysterious couple (Enda Moran and Trish Murphy) who wouldn't be out of place in some diabolic carnival leads to the awakening of an creepy figure, The Widow (Cillian Roche), whose haunting presence brings forth the nightmare...

All the while, Michael Higgins - "the Vagabond of Experimental Film Society" (according to Donal Foreman) - demonstrates the magic of creating hypnotizing moving images on an expired 35mm film loaded into a 50-yo Soviet camera! Although the silent era is where the bulk of his inspiration comes from, one can't help but recognize a myriad of other possible and seamlessly assimilated influences, ranging from Italian horror to Wojciech Has or even Seijun Suzuki. ('Tis all just an assumption, but for some reason, The Hourglass Sanatorium and Taishō Trilogy popped into my mind more than once.) The strong fragrance of nostalgia that both the antiquated technology and cinematic role models emanate with never wears off - instead, it is gradually infused with sharp hints of (post)modernity, which as a result has Autumnal Sleeps transforming into a timeless work of esoteric avant-garde. In other words, while relying on the ghosts of the past, Higgins invokes the phantasms of the future.

Bleeding colors, grainy textures and striking compositions make virtually every shot worthy of framing and mounting on the wall of an art gallery, whereby the overwhelming power of the lavish visuals is further enhanced by the somber gothic-industrial score laced with effervescent vintage tones. In the alchemical fusion thereof, the evocative, sublimely lurid phantasmagoria is born.


(This review is based on the private screener provided by the author.)

26 Nov 2019

Listen Little Man (Marko Žunić, 2019)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼ out of 10☼


One of the most experimental Serbian films not only of our but of all time, Listen Little Man (originally, Čuj mali čoveče) marks a significant milestone - inscribed with 'feature debut' - for up-and-coming independent filmmaker Marko Žunić. A follow-up to his short and wordless dystopian romance, Bright Future My Love, which boasts superb aesthetics, this film breaks the shackles of an orthodox narrative in favor of interconnected series of surreal, angst-fueled vignettes. We follow a young man credited only as Nenormalni (lit. abnormal / aberrant; a bold, uninhibited, largely physical performance by Filip Galen) whose world is turned upside-down and inside-out, as he refuses to kneel before the God of Conformism.


A universal story of a struggle against the currents of widespread babbitry is seasoned with local flavors, especially during the sequences of a high middle class dinner (not unlike the Slava) which unapologetically mocks the small-talk banalities, gradually transforming into a perturbing homage to the orgiastic Vienna actionists séance of Dušan Makavejev's inimitable Sweet Movie. (A comparison with the funeral feast of Ilya Khrzhanovsky's 4 wouldn't be out of place either, but Žunić haven't seen it yet.) The naïveté of the non-professional cast provides these scenes with a sort of a low-key humor and brings the films of Želimir Žilnik to one's mind, whereas the subsequent dubbing adds the layer of Felliniesque strangeness to the dizzying proceedings.


Developing in (justified) discordance with the irreverent, if a bit overt parody of our reality are phantasmagorical reflections of the sapped and anguished protagonist's inner workings occasionally dipped in metafilmic interventions (shot at the cinema venue of Student's City Cultural Center in Belgrade). At one point, they are externalized in a volcanic burst of exasperation which joins guerilla performance and mockumentary in an unholy matrimony. Often dialogue-free, draped in deep shadows and imbued with Lynchian madness, these bizarre, nightmarish flourishes operate as 'enhancers' of the film's YU Black Wave-like nature, adding a spicy 'je ne sais qoi' ingredient to the wild and weird mix.


A white catsuit which Galen wears in his character's twisted world makes him almost naked in appearance - he is a tabula rasa on which the audience can project their own thoughts. The costume also makes him look fragile, soon to be crushed under the pressure of the oppressive surroundings, or rather, under the influence of archetypal characters such as Businessman (Strahinja Bičanin), Priest (Vukašin Kerkez) and Girlfriend (Jovana Kerkez). He desperately tries to escape the ugliness and hypocrisy of so-called normality which are captured in gloomily beautiful, hectically edited monochromatic imagery, with a few shots in color emphasizing the author's contempt for certain new age phenomena. Abrasive soundscapes of brooding drones and ear-piercing noise complement the visuals and establish a delirious atmosphere.


Taking all of the creative control in his hands, as writer, director, producer, cinematographer, editor, sound artist and even actor, Marko Žunić demonstrates an enviable level of artistry (and energy!), and despite the budgetary constraints, delivers a highly recommendable piece of work bound to provoke polarizing opinions.

21 Nov 2019

Dobrodošli na KINOSKOP!

Baš kao što slikarstvo nije nestalo sa pojavom fotografije, tako ni snimanje filmova na traci nije ugušeno mogućnošću da video zabeležite mobilnim telefonom. Ako je suditi po velikom broju ostvarenja nastalih u poslednje dve godine, a pristiglih na konkurs prvog izdanja KINOSKOPa (preko dve stotine naslova!), analogna kinematografija je itekako životna... bar kada se pitaju filmadžije sklone eksperimentisanju. Iako kratka, njihova dela u sebi nose magiju i kanališu duhove pionira alternativne sedme umetnosti, i to ne samo kada je reč o „alhemijskoj“ selekciji, već i o programskim celinama posvećenim dokumentarcima, (multi)žanrovskim poigravanjima, fantazmagoričnim izletima u životinjski svet, kao i lirskim „iščašenjima“ stvarnosti i pronađenih / arhivskih snimaka (tzv. found footage).

Velika mi je čast biti jedna polovina kustoskog dvojca KINOSKOPa, uz energičnog i entuzijastičnog muzičara i sineastu Marka Milićevića, ali i deo posvećene ekipe umetnika koji učestvuju u pratećim programima, Live Soundtrack i EndFrame(s) (Poslednji kadar), ili kao članovi žirija (nezavisni filmski režiser Marko Žunić, muzičar i filolog Nevena Popović, i filmska montažerka Nina Lazarević). U Live Soundtrack-u koji obeležava svoju petu godišnjicu moći će da uživaju ljubitelji analogne elektronske muzike, a nastupiće Tearpalm, Falling Elevator Music i brazilski muzičar Elefante Branco, kao i Aleksandar Lazar i Marko Milićević koji će predstaviti kosmičko-postapokaliptični „expanded cinema“ performans pod nazivom „Elementarne čestice / Od koga smo nastali?“ Na tematskoj izložbi EndFrame(s) koja zatvara festival, a donosi niz poslednjih kadrova imaginarnih filmova, analognim fotografijama će se predstaviti Darko Ilić, Elizabeta Petković, Dina Radović, Milica Nikolić, Svetlana Mladenović i Vladimir Ilić, a kolažima Jelena Perišić i moja malenkost.

Ulaz na sve projekcije biće besplatan, pa ovo sažeto predstavljanje KINOSKOPa prihvatite kao poziv da nam se pridružite, 30. novembra i 1. decembra u prostoru Kvake 22, na čiju adresu Marko i ja šaljemo posebnu zahvalnost! Celokupan program i raspored projekcija (na engleskom) možete pogledati na zvaničnoj stranici festivala, a više informacija možete dobiti putem fejsbuka, gde je sam događaj nedavno najavljen. Uskoro će biti objavljene dve verzije kataloga, na srpskom i na engleskom. Dobrodošli!

14 Nov 2019

Kinoskop: The Main Program Announcement!


United colors of Kinoskop
Deep Waters (Alice Heit, 2019) | Prologue to the Tarot: Glenna (Brittany Gravely & Ken Linehan, 2018)
Aleph (Antonia Luxem, 2019) | Who Wants to Fall in Love? (Emily Van Loan, 2019)

"Analog filmmaking needed more love so we've decided to show why it is still so vital today - in Belgrade, of all places. 😻

I'm thrilled to announce that the first edition of Kinoskop will be taking place in Belgrade's hot spot for alternative, independent and underground culture - Kvaka 22 on 30th November and 1st December.

Results of the selection for the Main Program are finally out - fellow cinema junky Nikola Gocić and I have programmed 41 films in total of 7 Selections.

This years program is rather a breathtaking dive into the aesthetic world of filmmakers who work with celluloid today (Super 8, 16mm, 35mm, and found footage), extending through stories and motives which cover a lot of historical association with pioneers of avant-garde and independent cinema, but also impregnate them with a lot of vibrant energy and new ideas.

There's shades of mysticism and psychodrama of Deren, dealing with esoteric "thingamijigs" and alchemy of Anger, magically mundane secret diaries of Mekas, but rest assured this will be no sheer nostalgia trip... We will watch documentaries on subjects which haven't been touched upon in the history of cinema and witness peculiar deconstructions of sci-fi and horror genre through the creative lens and poetics of experimental film, take a trip inside nocturnal visions of the non-human world, oneirically sabotage H/B/ollywood on a found footage level and take on you on a rollercoaster ride in the realms of non-commercial, non-compromising, personal cinema. 👌

Take a sneak peak of things to come in this teaser album! Congrats to all filmmakers in this program, the entire festival schedule, catalog and Facebook event will be published on Monday! 🎬"

~Marko Milićević / Kinoskop curator~

"The first edition of Kinoskop is quickly approaching, so it’s about time we reveal this year’s main program! In seven selections, there are forty one (yes, 41!) films that will enchant and mystify you, speak directly to your subconscious, subvert your genre (and many other!) expectations, and take you to the world(s) where myths and realities collide, blur the lines which separate them, and then coalesce into a dense medley of aural and visual stimuli. Experience it firsthand in art space Kvaka 22, Belgrade, on 29th November and 1st December! Welcome!"

~Nikola Gocić / Kinoskop curator~

Once again, congratulations to all filmmakers! 💗

7 Nov 2019

The Blessed Depressed

We mysteriously disappeared on the 12th of Dek Du, just a moment before our father created the word for the world. At the beginning, there was literally nothing, but then the first imagery emerged from our liquid subconsciousness... With their minds hanging from their ears, Kunikloj were wandering around the ancient ruins of Labirinto. They didn’t know what they were searching for, which is why we didn’t want to interrupt their silence. However, Flustre betrayed us, and the birds of Para-Noah whisked them away.

That is why we asked Mr. Luno where would the Tic of the Toc strike and he told us to consider lowering our expectations. It was the day after, yet yesterday didn’t have any objections. Besides, we killed ourselves on great many occasions, so one of our suicides might not have been imaginary. Our children were well-behaved, even during the sudden outbursts of naked luck – they had never barked like those white Korvoj who gathered on the roofs of faux innocence.

When the candy-flavored bubbles burst, everything went back to Normala where three Sunoj shone upon the graves of our ancestors. The road towards Destino was permanently closed and no one explained why.

1 Nov 2019

Apocrypha: A Prelude to Inferno

Apocrypha: A Prelude to Inferno references the Third Book of the avant-garde, multi-genre novel titled The Burlesque of Mr. Perun the God of Thunder (originally, Бурлеска господина Перуна бога грома) by Serbian writer Rastko Petrović (1898-1949). It takes a lot of artistic liberties to depict a scene in which archangel Michael paddles a boat by which mother of God travels to Hell, because she yearns to visit it and meet the Satan himself...

Cinematic Favorites of October

During October, I checked out (and in great many cases, enjoyed) almost 200 short films, by virtue of the great response to the Kinoskop call for entries which, I remind you, is still open, until the 10th of November. I won't reveal my Kinoskop favorites on this month's best of list, but you will find some hints, if you follow the festival's Faceboook page. As for the features, the number is much smaller (barely over 20), with one of a few re-watches being a great nostalgia trip to my childhood - namely, Filmation's cartoon Flash Gordon: The Greatest Adventure of All (1982). But, let's get back to the present. Top three big-screen experiences are reserved for Joaquin Phoenix's delightfully deranged one-man show Joker, and a couple of striking debuts - Marko Žunić's angsty, surreally disquieting, neo-Black Wave phantasmagoria Čuj mali čoveče (lit. Listen Little Man), and Susanne Heinrich's hyper-stylized, cynically deadpan post-modern dramedy Das melancholische Mädchen (aka Aren't You Happy?).

FEATURES:


1. Joker (Todd Phillips, 2019) 
2. Čuj mali čoveče (Marko Žunić, 2019)
3. Das melancholische Mädchen (Susanne Heinrich, 2019)
5. Once Upon a Time (Xiaoding Zhao & Anthony LaMolinara, 2017)
6. Gwen (William McGregor, 2018) 
7. Prospect (Christopher Caldwell & Zeek Earl, 2018)

SHORTS:


26 Oct 2019

Rose and the Phantoms of Extrapolar Singularity

After Rose rose from her grave, the Morose exposed their jealousy. It was yellow and mellow, just like a banana-flavored jello in which he dipped his ripped body. She couldn’t understand and neither could she stand the toxic smell emanating from the devastated land. Hence, she gathered the band of ghosts and reanimated posts, and together they invaded the long coasts of extrapolar singularity...

24 Oct 2019

Greener Grass (Jocelyn DeBoer & Dawn Luebbe, 2019)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼ out of 10☼

Co-written and co-directed with an unconstrained absurdist glee and quirky irreverence by improv comedians turned filmmakers Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe who also have a whale of a weird time in front of the camera as ultra-polite soccer mums, Greener Grass turns an American dream into a candy-colored suburbia nightmare in which the love for thy neighbor is taken to an irrational extreme. A contender for the most disturbingly delightful film of the year, this 'kids with knives'-sharp middle-class satire by way of a twisted soap opera parody firmly embraces the deliberately kitschy aesthetics of dark humor-veiling pastels, and mercilessly plunges the viewer into a world where all the adults wear braces, newborns are being bestowed to reciprocate the compliment, and coming-of-age tends to feel like becoming a golden retriever. It goes without saying that both the cult status and a bit of head-scratching are guaranteed.

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.)

10 Years of NGboo Art

Tomorrow marks the 10th anniversary of NGboo Art, as well as the opening of the 17th International Comics Festival which I will be attending, given that my experimental collage-comic F Mode has been selected for the exhibition. If my records are correct, this is the fifth piece of mine that has been honored by the jury, following in footstreps of Disappearing... (2010), Avant-Garden (2014), Eternal (2016) and Exhausted Peace (2018)...

Now, instead of looking back at the blog's beginning and development that has been supported mostly by my enthusiasm and passion for alternative cinema (and will hopefully be partly supported via Ko-fi in the future), I am going to remind the readers of some (chronologically sorted) articles which have led to / been inspired by successful collaborations, as well as friendships, both online and real-life, that I couldn't even dreamed of and that I highly appreciate.

Divna budućnost ljubavi moja (Marko Žunić, 2014) - the translation and adaptation of this text is included in of my (30) Taste of Cinema listicles, HERE.

Sleep Has Her House (Scott Barley, 2017) - "... there's no conventional narrative or characters in this exploration of cloaked, tenebrous, impenetrable 'otherness'. The very notion of those aspects is obscured by the Moon's timid rays, an owl's piercing eyes, the stillness of roe's corpse, the soaring thunder which announces the End and even by the small intrusions of light..." (When you watch Barley's film on the big screen, the presence of the abovementioned 'otherness' is felt so strongly, you can barely resist it.)

Alchemy on the Amstel (Janja Rakuš, 2016) - "... A whole new world of rich textures and simmering lights lies beneath its surface, waiting to be explored. Our reality perishes and über-reality emerges..." (This is a great opportunity to send another thank you to Ms Rakuš and journalist Melita Forstnerič Hajnšek for the special mention of my name in the article for Slovenian web portal Večer.)

Üres lovak / Empty Horses (Péter Lichter, 2019) - "... the selected sequences, ranging from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to Alien, are always in tune with both the protagonists' words, as well as with the author's personal reflections on filmmaking, though at times they do slip into the 'phantasmal domain', to remind us of cinema's ghostly qualities and the fantastical dimension of this respectable meta-creation..."

Luminous Void: Docudrama (Rouzbeh Rashidi, 2019) - "... a medium between our world and the domain ruled by the specters of cinema; it is a session during which the ghosts of many film pioneers are simultaneously invoked, celebrated, communicated with and expelled..." (Crossing fingers to attend the 20th birthday of Experimental Film Society next year in Dublin.)

Notes from a Journey (Daniel Fawcett & Clara Pais, 2019) - "... A bewildering formalistic exploration of inner and outer landscapes via both visual and aural means, it poses a great challenge to the viewer attempting to put the hardly describable experience into words..." (I find Daniel & Clara's sensibility extremely close to mine, which is why I 'dream in exile' and sincerely hope our journeys will cross paths some day soon.)

In a Nutshell: Takatoshi Arai - "... Remaining secretive about the themes and meanings behind the oft-puzzling and dialogue-free juxtapositions of moving images and sounds, he asks the viewers to be active / open-minded and leaves plenty of space for their own different interpretations..." (Looking forward to meeting Arai-san this Friday.)

Auricular Confession (Martin Del Carpio, 2019) - "... Once again, Del Carpio orchestrates a successful collaboration with photographer William Murray who provides the film with the exquisitely composed and tightly edited B&W visuals, making the most of a claustrophobic shooting location." (Not only one of the best shorts I've seen this year, but also one of MDC's films I've designed the official poster for.)

Furnace (Kent Tate, 2019) - "... Although pervaded by the feeling of calm, with Tate's camera acting as a stoic observer, the ostensibly rigid compositions have a painterly quality to them that is simultaneously complemented and counterpoised by the pulsating music created by the author himself..."

Emotive Transmigrations (Camelia Mirescu, 2016) - "... both aurally and visually it manages to conjure some peculiar magic, and leaves you wanting more..." (Mirescu's body of work is worthy of the 'soulscaping' label.)

In conclusion, I present a small selection of my collages from the recently started 'B&W vs. Red' series which sees me feeling comfortable out of my comfort zone. You can follow me on Facebook and, as of late, on Instagram.

That Time Despair Went for a Swim


The Perks of Being an Ostracized Martyr


It Will End in Tears


Snow White and the Seventh Perforation of the Void


A Vanishing Street Miracle


Resistance


Wide-Eyed Curiosity

24 Sep 2019

Moon Tiger Movie 3 (Maximilian Le Cain, 2019)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼ out of 10☼

Once again, Moon Tiger takes his seat in an armchair, silently suggesting we do the same, because the lights are about to be turned off, just like in the movies, marking the beginning of another arduous inward journey or rather, its continuation. The most accessible of the bunch, the third installment in Le Cain's latest opus feels like a fractured psychological drama of an enigmatic woman portrayed by several actresses, each representing their heroine's specific state of mind.

In the opening, she is an aged lady in what appears to be a retirement home or even a hospital, because cinema is an incurable disease, especially when it comes to EFS filmmakers. It is hard to decide whether she is Moon Tiger's figment of imagination or vice-versa, but it is pretty easy to recognize her deep melancholy in the austere black & white imagery drenched in a humming noise. After she goes to sleep, we are introduced to her 'second self' (or the first of a few dream-selves?) - a mademoiselle in a bright coat who wouldn't be out of place in a Godard(ian) / New Wave-ish flick. Surrounded by concrete structures of an urban environment, she wanders and ponders, subtly externalizing her (suppressed?) emotions - at one point, she speaks with an irresistible Irish accent, and that sole instance of verbal expression fills you with warm bitter-sweetness. At her most confident, she is replaced by performance artist Vicky Langan - Le Cain's frequent collaborator who starred in his 2017 feature Inside.

The lingering shots of skies and pastures, and later, of power-lines, hotel rooms and abandoned, debris-littered places, as well as a recurring frozen frame of a nude woman in ecstasy serve as a connective tissue in this fragile, gradually mutating film-organism that sees Moon Tiger as an intruder of sorts. He can also be held responsible for the fourth wall occasionally crumbling and revealing the author's perseverance and stubborn insistence on cinema as the medium for extremely subjective exploration and solipsistic contemplation. His stream of thoughts are reflected in the gloomy, evocative, hyper-grainy visuals which hold the strangely compelling beauty of abundant desolation, evanescent in its permanence. Minimalist soundscapes of soft crackling, wind blowing, cowbells clinking and sirens wailing in the distance wonderfully complement their obfuscating charm.

Moon Tiger Movie 3 can be viewed HERE for free until September 30.

19 Sep 2019

Moon Tiger Movie 2 (Maximilian Le Cain, 2019)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼ out of 10☼

After devouring Star Duck that infected his first film's finale with some twisted humor, Moon Tiger continues his journey toward the Deep Blue. He walks along the dark streets of an unidentified town, with the particles of light flickering in his palm. Brooding silence and ominous droning accompany him on the way, as the sea rustles nervously. A lost soul who escaped from a Jean Rollin's fantasy attempts to climb the graveyard gate and seems unfazed by her failure...

The line between (classic) cinema and (inner) life, (horror) genre and (excessive) experimentation gets blurred, and once again, the viewer is steeped in perplexity. Extremely grainy, the texture of the main blurring factor - the quivering visuals - gives the film the appearance of a long-lost artifact unearthed in the distant future, then sent back through time to be witnessed by a lucky finder. Even more arrhythmic than its predecessor, Moon Tiger Movie 2 sees its creator as a mad, stubbornly uncompromising scientist who works and meditates simultaneously. The (un)blinking eye of his camera creates the illusion of a Malevich-esque simplicity and Brutalist power, but only occasionally - the images are mostly as fragile as a water-filled bottle's bottom that turns into a snow globe-like universe, during the zoom in.

A strong feeling of loneliness pervades the phantasmal 'proceedings' which flicker encrypted messages into one's subconscious. On the other hand, Moon Tiger may be the Devil, but the Devil is not only in the details of his own art performance - the movie in self-exile. Across the ruins of omni-cinema, he and we encounter countless restless ghosts. The question 'I lost my body, can I use yours?' raises the levels of uncanniness. Will the Sun ever rise?

Moon Tiger Movie 2 is available FOR FREE on Experimental Film Society's Vimeo channel, but for a limited time (a few days left). The first part can be rented HERE.

'Amarelo' Diptych

As seven golden pearls glitter, a couple of voices speak silently...

VOICE 1: How did you turn your black into green?
VOICE 2: I don’t know. It just... happened. Out of the blue.
VOICE 1: Did you see the stars?
VOICE 2: Stars? No. Only their former selves, veiled in the mist of our nothingness.
VOICE 1: I don’t understand. Aren’t we supposed to be alive?
VOICE 2: Perhaps we are. Why don’t you ask your death?
VOICE 1: (reveals the true form of light and vanishes through a triangular rift in time)

Green Is in the Eye of the Withholder


Drama Queen and the King of Solitude