Directed by Johanne Chagnon
Waves of white paper that resemble an iceberg from which emerge two arms and two legs, clearly feminine.
A feather and then two red fruits that stain the paper clouds with blood-red paint.
More and more.
In the background, only the vital breath of the wind. Then again, the same legs and the same arms, which sway and emerge from the bloody clouds and then once again the feather which rises higher and higher.
The two fruits bleed, sharp sounds and noises now disturb the breath of the wind.
Something happens; the red and the human figure are charred. The red of the fruit turns black—the feather returns, more and more powerful. The rain falls, the black becomes darker.
The body is now wrapped in white paper and rolls on the paper clouds that have turned from white to red, then black.
Now they no longer remember an iceberg but a landfill, or any other place that hosts the end of something that once existed.
The short movie ends with a sort of painting featuring a wood, from which we can glimpse a shy sun that recalls hope and the symbolic return of light.
"A Moment Of Whiteness Just Before..." is a “small” yet full of strength and poetry experimental film by Johanne Chagnon, a Canadian artist.
The colors are vivid, anything but timid, and are the protagonists together with the materials and the sounds it produces. Materials and colors trigger a linear story in which the first act, the second act, and the third act recall the cycle of life. The process of life, or perhaps the emotional cycle with which we face it.
It doesn't matter what meaning you want to attribute to Chagnon's beautiful work because whatever message we decide to receive, it arrives with all the power that the author has put into her creation. And this happens when an experimental work can be defined as successful.
"A Moment Of Whiteness Just Before…" is one of the best experimental films that the Canadian art scene (not new to this genre of film) has recently offered.
THE MECHANICS OF INTIMACY by Benjamin George Filinson is a beautiful abstract journey into modern relationships.
The first protagonist is the music: hypnotizing, pounding, which recalls a feeling of suffocation and "no way out" typical of many interpersonal relationships—the perfect soundtrack to accompany an unpredictable situation such as the discomfort perceived during a relationship.
The second protagonists, only at list level and not of importance, are photography and set design. The story unfolds in 7 locations (the first and the last ones are the same). The protagonists (a woman and a man, Kristina Guzikova and the author Benjamin Filinson) move through these spaces full of color, chosen not by chance. Red, green, cold white, green again that turns into red through orange and an internal set with white, almost blue light. And finally, red again. Red of the feelings and red of the sunset in the desert that extinguishes this story.
The passage of colors inevitably refers to the different moods that we experience during a relationship. And the beautiful and sharp photography tells them intensively.
The Voice-overs in different languages, French (Pauline Schaettel) and Russian (Kristina Guzikova), could represent the change that an individual is willing to undergo to reach the other. In reality, just like two different languages, change experienced as an unconscious constriction creates nothing but confusion and a lack of authenticity.
Beautiful and technically successful are the images fading in and out flowingly and that animate the scenes. Above all, the white dress that appears on a branch seems to mean: “here, cover yourself,” because the way you are now probably won't make it work.
The Mechanics Of Intimacy is an excellent experimental movie, poetically impregnated with symbols on the most difficult but at the same time intense of feelings: love.
ON PAR, written by Paul G Andrews and Beth Kates, is about the life of Luke and Rina, punctuated by episodes of violence in which they are forced to be protagonists, despite themselves.
The story takes place in London and navigates three worlds: the rich one, the suburbs one, and the immigrants one. The three realities collide, mix, overlap, feed one another, irremediably. In the background, or perhaps as a real protagonist, the relationship between the two young guys, their dreams, their passion for music, and the excruciating and prejudicial pain of being orphans.
The young protagonists act as teenagers but also as adults, certainly showing that they have come to terms with their own destiny much more than the real adults of the story did, who instead appear fragile, wrong, broken. In them is contained the hope of a generation that dreams, that continues to struggle, and that despite being socially victim of the generation that preceded them, knows how to roll up their sleeves and fight to protect their sense of justice. Too bad that, unfortunately, it is far from easy.
In the background, there is also a grey London, more than usual, which covers the mistakes of adults. A London that doesn't want to get involved in their crimes, their atrocities, their mistakes, and lack of responsibility. She actually takes part in their sins, offering them her alleys, her sidewalks, her justice ministers.
The pace of the script is fast, also thanks to the use of many flashbacks that make the narrative structure rich and never boring. The dialogues are never obvious, and where perhaps they could slip into seen and revised plot tricks, they are saved by denouncing non-original cinematographic elements through the characters themselves, calming the conscience of the most attentive users.
The characters are coherent, very well written. They almost look familiar. You would like to see them come to life and you can only imagine them being played by excellent actors to do justice to the exhaustive writing.
A story that deserves to be told also visually, and that we hope to see come to life soon.
Stan Adard’s experimental movie BREATHING THROUGH takes us on a very short trip, only three minutes and a half, in which we can “breathe” life.
By using Virtual Reality in a very experimental and unique way, Adard shows pictures and videos about a family’s life in a vertical split screen.
The images are tiny and it’s hard to catch what they are showing. In fact, what the director wanted to point out, is the wallpaper that surrounds the images, as if they were the main character and the images just simple extras.
The images then feed the VR wallpaper, that looks now like a massive bubble. And the bubble gives birth to the images, once again.
The metaphor of life as a circle and an infinitive journey is clear.
But what does matter the most during this incredible path?
The answer, as Adard says in his director statement, is the following:
“Logic and perspective matter less than the journey of life itself. Images aren’t supporting structures; the road we have chosen is only relative. But the meaning of our personal narrative, like the viewpoint one chooses to see in the video, is ultimately grounded in the breath”.
Directed by Andrès Ricuarte & Martín Agudelo Ramírez
A way for Tomás, written by Martín Agudelo Ramirez and directed by himself together with Andrés Ricuarte is a twenty-eight - minute short film that tells the introspective journey of the protagonist Tomás.
Tomás (Sergio Dávila Llinás), around thirty-five, is welcomed into the wood by his child version, a ten-year-old boy (played by José Naranjo). And young Tomás will join and guide the older one on this journey towards his past and his traumas, in a sort of cathartic and healing psychological experience.
Dreams and the past merge until they become one ("How to understand reality apart from our dreams? What mysterious world we live in!", writes Martín Agudelo Ramirez). This communion is shown on the screen by Mateo Londoño's masterful photography (which also took care of the editing of the movie), who worked very well with colors, showing great talent.
The photography, the cinematography, and all the visual aspects (including the beautiful final shots) seem to be more deliberately deepened than the dialogues, which are instead short and never superfluous. Lorena García and Laura Vallejo (the former, makeup artist, and the second one costume design responsible) enriched the visual experience with their precise, incisive, and beautiful job.
The music, curated by Banda del Bisonte, a young Colombian rock band, enriches the film with their contemporary but profound sounds, helping to make Tomás' journey (and the audience's one) even more intimate and introspective.
Definitely, a film to watch, and we hope that the duo Andrés Ricuarte and Martín Agudelo Ramirez will work together again.
directed by Luca Machnich
THE EVE tells, as the title suggests, a particular Christmas Eve. An eight-year-old boy, who is facing a difficult childhood, puts all his wishes in a meeting with Santa Claus, with the hope that he will accept to take him away and let him live in the toy factory.
Often in films with a Christmas setting, children and toys are the protagonists. From The Nutcracker by Čajkovskij to Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium passing through many others, the relationship between children and toys that come to life is transformed into a safe haven capable of protecting the protagonists of the stories from their fears and their moments of unhappiness. It is the most magical moment of the year, where everything becomes an expectation, where every detail makes the difference. Even the oldest ones have a lot of hope at this time of the year, and you don't need to be a believer to celebrate it.
For many other people, however, Christmas is an unpleasant date, especially for those who are alone, because the feeling of loneliness at Christmas becomes unbearable.
THE EVE collects this feeling of helplessness and tells it using all the Christmas symbols such as the Christmas tree, the decorations, the warm atmospheres, the gifts, the toys, Santa Claus, the fireplace, the house, and shakes them, shuffles them, and turns them upside down.
What if the world that is supposed to protect children and preserve and materialize their dreams instead becomes unreliable and cruel? Does the child have a chance or will he have to face reality? THE EVE does face reality with delicacy and provocation.
By creating a small horror film for whom all departments deserve appreciation: Cinematography, direction, writing, set design, acting, editing, and soundtrack. Special mention should be made of the impeccable 3D and animations, not only technically successful but also perfectly immersed in the film.
The rhythm of the dialogues is fast and marks the time, another important element in the storytelling.
THE EVE has already won many international awards, prizes that confirm the success of this film that fully respects the basic rules of the first horror films that became cult.
Directed by Dave Shecter
MEMORIES NEVER DIE is a pleasant song, enriched by a well-done video clip from all points of view. Without resorting to stunts of ideas, the video accompanying the song follows the story told by the song step by step.
And perhaps right because of the simplicity of the script of the video clip, the utmost attention is paid, without difficulty, to the words of the song, which are enough to lead us into the atmosphere that the American singer-songwriter Dave Shecter (also director of the video clip) generously offers.
We do not know if the lyrics of the song are autobiographical or not, but the sincerity and the empathy that is perceived suggest that the author is somehow personally involved with the experience.
Both the song and the video clip tell the loss of a loved one, faced by an adult couple. A love, therefore, mature, which might have been born in the second part of the life of the protagonists but which does not mean that it is less strong or passionate or has built fewer memories of an adolescent love or the love of an older couple perhaps together for a whole life.
What the song tells, in fact, is the end of love. The universality of pain caused by the accidental termination of a relationship, and the pain that follows out of it. What remains of an interrupted love story if not the memories? But are they enough to tolerate pain?
The memory of an afternoon together at a coffee bar, laughing together, some car trips listening to music, a walk on the sand in a random afternoon. This crosses the mind of those who remain and are deprived of their love, this relieves the physical and psychological pain of those who have lost a loved one. At first, memories have the effect of the blade of a sharp knife, because they sharpen the pain and lack. But then, with the passage of time, they are what remains and what makes that lost love immortal.
The musicality of the song is simple but catchy, and the vocal timbre of the singer clear but warm, so much so that thanks to this fullness of the performance is quite impressive realizing that there's just piano and voice.Praise to the impeccable technical quality of the audio of the video clip, which accompanies a sharp, clean photograph, and a reliable and precise direction.
MEMORIES NEVER DIE shows that even when addressing a theme that has always been the protagonist of storytelling, we can still be peculiar, even by relying on simplicity and by actually using it as a medium for the success of the work.
After all, love itself is always peculiar, even though it belongs to everyone.
Directed by Robin Phillips
BEHIND THE NAME SHAKESPEARE is an extraordinary one-woman show documentary.
The exceptional Robin Phillips guides us through the exciting investigation about who is really behind the most important plays in the whole world and therefore behind the name of William Shakespeare.
The position of the author is clear right away: between Stradfordians and Oxfordians, she is an Oxfordian, and so will probably be all the people that will have the luck to come across this movie.
As a matter of fact, all the theories that will be pointed out completely hang on the side of those who claim that William Shakespeare was not the author of the works that bear his signature.
Robin Phillips puts all her talent as an author, actress, and storyteller, playing a sort of comedian detective (a brilliant choice that makes us remain glued to the screen for the whole duration of the film) but contextualized in the era we are referring to. She transforms herself several times, she steps out and gets back into the narration with delicacy and without ever being out of tune.
And as a consequence of this, it's not difficult to get involved in the typical atmosphere of the sixteenth century, also thanks to the beautiful costumes designed by Phillips herself, who also worked on the music, hairstyles, make-up, and artistic direction.
The documentary is full of information, anecdotes, details, and spins around two centuries, between literature, history, and art. Despite being so full of news and quotes, you can easily follow it from start to finish. Not only without ever getting bored but remaining with bated breath in search of yet another proof that helps to agree with an increasingly numerous group of people that supports this extraordinarily beautiful and thrilling theory. It's difficult, after having seen it, not to want to join the chorus of voices of these artists, historians, writers, who claim that a glove maker could not have created what are among the greatest masterpieces of world theater literature. And that it's much more likely that it was the seventeenth Earl of Oxford, Edward de Ver, lover (to be reductive) of Queen Elizabeth, and an erudite and brilliant man of letters.
Art Harman enriches the movie with his cinematography and his technical effects, which join the narrative moments in a fluid and coherent way.To quote Anna Rice, even within the documentary itself there are "very very interesting stuff", which could not tell this crazy part of history in a better way.I challenge the public not to fall in love with this story, with their protagonists, and with Robin Phillips in this delightful documentary film, which teaches and entertains, thus remaining faithful to the primary purpose of Elizabethan theater.
directed by Benjamin Filinson
The importance of the title and a director's statement when it comes to experimental films is as necessary as the title of a painting of any artistic current and as the title of a poem. The instinctive perception of the receiver is fundamental, but the author's message is decisive, as he can guide the audience gently without interfering in the formation of the personal idea or sensation.
"Reflections & Projections is the culmination of combining the mediums of painting, still and motion photography to capture the human condition of how we see ourselves in others, through emotional triggering, the way we unconsciously lay our expectations and blames upon them [...]".
So says about his creation Benjamin Filinson, director of this experimental film produced in Los Angeles in 2018.
This eighteen-minute film is divided into two parts that break apart at the tenth minute.
In the first part, Reflections, the focus is placed on the words that are read superimposed in the female body that is portrayed and exposed. It seems a dialogue between partners in which the questions and answers that are read alternate fluidly, getting formed and dying in the images below that depict women's bodies, women's faces, faces painted inside the body of a woman who multiplies and separates continually but whose face always remains in dim light.
The only moment of realism is entrusted to a black cat that has the task of taking us back on the ground, giving us the same feeling that you get when you are brought to shore by a calm wave after being overwhelmed by a ' more violent wave.
The music is perfect because it conveys a sensation of birth, growth, and death, typical of the waves, and therefore follows the rhythm of the film coherently.
In the second part, Projections, the music changes and loses this sensation of crescendo and diminuendo but becomes more static and constant, perfectly following the style of this second story, in which the images take over the words. The vision becomes clearer, the bodies double as in a broken mirror. The woman now seems less pure, less ancestral, contaminated. Sexuality prevails over interiority, it is more brazen and exposed. In this second part, the external element that suddenly appears is the face of a man, who, like the cat in the first part, drags you down and for a moment makes you stop floating with images and words.
The moment in one of the superimpositions in which the face takes shape in the body that lends itself to the face and whose breast is transformed perfectly into an eye is beautiful. A cry to femininity that seems to be, in silence, the constant theme of this beautiful work.
Directed by Vaggelis Deligiorgis
There is so much in UMBRA, this great little experimental film.
Despite the short duration (only 7 minutes), the narrative structure is crisp and technically perfect. Every act is clear and has a personality worthy of a feature film, a very difficult goal to achieve in a short film but when this happens does a good part of the work and marks the success of it. And this is the case.
The short movie shows a man walking through a long narrow corridor, at first illuminated, then dark (the title UMBRA is wisely and beautifully chosen). The director's statement reveals that this man is a sort of journalist but his appearance and attitude also recall a priest or more generally a confessor. The claustrophobic passages that the man walks through recall a labyrinth. They are full of graffiti that the protagonist ignores while walking, perhaps too busy going forward, perhaps too busy getting to the "final goal". Graffiti and phrases fill both the external and internal walls (the phrase “take a trip to Philadelphia” is highlighted) and they are so strong that they voluntarily obscure the protagonist.
The elevator that leads to the upper floor trembles and frightens, symbolizing the compromise that every journey (especially metaphorical) includes in its essence. Finally, the protagonist reaches his goal. Or perhaps, more than an arrival it is a departure.
The room where he arrives seems at first a regular small room but only after a few moments, we find out it's separated by bars, which divides interviewer from the interviewee, confessor from the reticent sinner (the technique used on this occasion is beautiful).
And it is then, after an active invasion of light, that the roles are exchanged, slowly, more and more, until they merge and mirror each other until the two people are transformed into a single being and a single essence.
There are no dialogues, and they are not needed. Photography, writing, interpretation, and direction are enough to make us appreciate this work.
The actor that plays both roles is a great Konstantinos Koutroumpis that also signed the soundtrack. Cello, flute, and percussion fill the scene with discretion.
Congratulations to Vaggelis Deligiorgis for having written, directed and produced this film (he also performed the percussions) full of meanings and contemporary themes which, depending on the subjective interpretation, can tell both an aspect of society and an intimate experience.
BELLE-ILE IN ACADIE is a technically perfect documentary. Direction, soundtrack, editing, cinematography, writing, worked together to enrich the preciousness of this great little film made with love.
And when something is made with love, the audience can feel it.
The story of the journey of a group of families who from Belle Ile, an island of France, flies to Canada to meet their "from the other side of the ocean" families in search of their roots, not only is a deepening of this specific historical chapter but is also the objective example of a story about forced emigration, a very topical issue.
The emotion of the families involved shows how much the human being is attached to his past, despite having always been an explorer. Roots and past that perhaps serve to fill the gaps of the future, and which represent the only aspect of certainty that distinguishes our existence.
It doesn't matter how many years went by and what circumstances have led to the diaspora of these people. What they will seek and yearn for will be their roots, their land.
And so Acadia (that includes parts of Quebec, New Brunswick, parts of Maine, and Nova Scotia) becomes any region of South America, any region of the Balkans, and any other territory that participated in the birth and formation of an ethnic entity and which then helpless witnessed its kidnapping.
As one of the protagonists of the documentary said, it's already amazing that these families now have the opportunity to return to the place of their origins and celebrate the past together. And this is thanks to all the people that work on organizing this celebration moment that involves families, residents, artists, children, and adults.
This is a further demonstration that commitment is the only way to make the past immortal.
And this documentary is an example of commitment, perfectly succeeded.
Directed by Sophia Romma
USED AND BORROWED TIME is an experimental film directed by Sophia Romma.
This three and a half hours film is divided into two parts although this separation does not sanction a change of story or a time jump, but rather seems to recall the end of the first act of a theatre play. In fact, the whole structure of the film is very theatrical.
The direction, especially for the part that concerns the moment in which the protagonist travels through time and reaches her past, is purposely static: We can see a dining table, a barn, the wood, and the scene revolves especially around the actors.
The cinematography also contributes to this research and to this intent. Adding a theatrical signature to the work is also the presence of the orchestra led by the beautiful voice of Queen Ilise, who engages in various pieces, representing the only soundtrack of almost the entire film.
The story takes place in Alabama, it's inspired by a real episode that was told to the director and tells the life of a blind Jewish woman who travels from the present to her past.
She there reaches her 20-year-old self and the love of her life, an African American young man who dreamed about the end to segregation laws (we are in the 60s) but will have to clash with a family of racist and classist white Americans. So the woman, who too has been and still is a victim of racism and prejudice as a Jew (not only in the past but also in a present now far from the end of the Second World War), will live twice her nightmare.
The author defines her work as an experimental film and it's actually difficult, as a viewer, to be able to insert it within any already known category of film genre. In addition to the theatricality of the film, in fact, the duration is not a choice among the most popular in recent years.
There are also some illustrations (especially in the first part) that participate in the story in a metaphorical way and represent an external point of view.
Therefore a new and, indeed, experimental element. If Romma's work had to be labeled into a specific genre, I would think of a horror movie that uses words instead of images to scare the audience. In many of the phrases acted, especially by the actors who play the racist American family members, you get the same reaction that you can have in front of the crudest of horror films. It is the concepts that bleed and scare, not some part of the human body, and it's even scarier. There's no room for any "politically correct" kind of thing, and that's exactly what we liked.
A special mention goes to the costume design department (curated by Silvana Adamo and Dara Ponzo) and to the leading actresses Emily Seibert, who plays the young Eva Gold, and Cam Kornman, who plays Eva Gold in the present.