Tuesday, 16 September 2008

LFF Preview (Experimenta)

Again, not an exhaustive list: just those that catch my eye.

James Benning's genre might be called the "tableau film", in which a static camera watches events pass before its eye. Apparently, the titles of Ten Skies and Thirteen Lakes (both from 2004) pretty much sum up the content, but of course no description can ever encompass a film. Benning doesn't have a monopoly on the idea. Fliegauf's Milky Way (Tejút), which has had a couple of outings in London - and hopefully elsewhere in the UK, is a series of ten shots, though each contained a human narrative of some sort. Kiarostami's Five Dedicated to Ozu, immediately gave away the number of shots it contained (though the ducks were a pleasant surprise). The first 30 minutes of Sokurov's Spiritual Voices (Духовные голоса) watches dusk descend over a landscape, whilst a narrator contemplates art. Compared to these, Benning's latest film RR seems positively action packed, with no fewer than 43 (count 'em!) 43 shots. Each lasts just as long as it takes for a train to cross the frame. This is one of the festival films I'm really looking forward to.

Perhaps in the same vein is a Nathaniel Dorsky programme that promises to 'transcend daily reality and open a space for introspective thought'.

Naturally, the musical theme of The Silence Before Bach (Die Stille vor Bach) means I'll be there. An epigrammatic mosaic-study of Bach in the modern world, it sounds like 32 Short Films about Glenn Gould may be echoing in the background, but it would be no worse for that.

I may well give the Guy Debord double bill a go, if only in the faint hope that, suitably prepared, I'll actually finally make it all the way through The Society of the Spectacle.

From the LFF write-up, the Alina Rudnitskaya programme doesn't sound incredibly experimental: here we get three short docs about Russian women, not including her portrait of Russian faux-lesbian pop-poppets Tatu. I'm always slightly puzzled that the LFF doesn't have a documentary section per se (perhaps some inter-Festival 'respecting-categories' politics) and some seem to end up shunted into the Experimenta section for dubious reasons. Don't get me started on last year's Seven Easy Pieces!

Finally, a suite of shorts under the title A Sense of Place. Included is Rebecca Baron and Douglas Goodwin's ironically entitled Lossless No 2, a latterday parallel of Bill Morrison's Decasia, which uses failed digital files of Hammid and Deren's classic Meshes of the Afternoon.

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