Chris Marker @ Whitechapel Gallery, Apr 18-Jun 22

8 April 2014

From April 18 to June 22, London’s Whitechapel Gallery will present the first ever UK retrospective of prolific French filmmaker, writer, photographer and multimedia master Chris Marker.

For the duration of the 2+ months, the Whitechapel Gallery will brim with Marker’s extraordinary films and photographs, showing extracts from some of his iconic films – including Sans soleil (1983), Le Fond de l’air est rouge (1977), and La Jetée (1962) – as well as all five of his installation pieces shown side by side for the first time. In addition, the retrospective will introduce newly re-mastered editions of some of Marker’s famous essay films, such as that of Le Joli Mai (1963), as well as a large projection of Ouvroir: the Movie (2010), his guided virtual museum tour.

Find out about some of the contemporary artists influenced by Chris Marker’s work, and re-visit aqnb‘s interviews with Jaakko Pallasvuo and Andrew Norman Wilson.

And to read more about the retrospective, visit the Whitechapel Gallery exhibition page, and access specific event details on our aqnb event listing. **

 Header image: Still from ‘La Jetee’ (1962). Image courtesy Whitechapel Gallery.  

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Artists’ Film International running Oct 17

15 October 2013

As London International Film Festival and Frieze Art Fair rage on, Whitechapel Gallery finds a happy medium by presenting six new films from across cultures from Afghanistan, Hong Kong, Morroco, New Zealand, Turkey and Vietnam, for Artists’ Film International, running from October 17 to January 12.

Selected by 15 organisations from around the world, the programme of film, video and animation includes The Downfall of Light by Murray Hewitt, Jajouka Something Good Comes to You by Eric and Marc Hurtado, We Are All in the Same Boat by Bengu Karaduman, Gaining and Losing by Rahraw Omarzad and City & The City by Hong-An Truong, in collaboration Dwayne Dixon and  Morgan Wong’s Plus-Minus-Zero.

See the Whitechapel Gallery website for more details. **

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‘The Country of the Blind’ @ The Sunday Painter, Sep 19

18 September 2013

As part of this year’s PAMI, running September 19 to 22, Peckham’s The Sunday Painter will be screening Mumbai-based collective CAMP‘s film The Country of the Blind and Other Stories, named after H.G. Wells’ 33 short science fiction and fantasy stories, starting on the Wednesday.

The group, concerned with infrastructures and mediation, spent a year working with volunteers of the National Coastwatch Institution at the coastal ‘blind spot’ of Kent’s Copt Point, investigating the shipping trade, local ecologies and fishing among other things.

See The Sunday Painter website for more details. **

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Contemporary Middle Eastern film @ ICA

16 August 2013

There’s a lot of interest in the art and cultural map of the Middle East these days and we have a feeling ideas on Gulf Futurism, as proliferated by Sophia Al Maria, and Slavoj Žižek’s Living in the End of Times might have something to do with it (not mentioning Bidoun, those memes and the ‘Arab Spring’) . But there are plenty more impressions of the diverse region to be had, hence, the ICA‘s Off-Site: Cinema on The Steps:Contemporary Middle Eastern Film in London, running from Tuesday, August 20, to Thursday, August 22.

It features three nights of screenings curated by Abdellah Karroum, Alia Al Senussi and Abdullah Al Turki, and Ahmed Mater, including restored Egyptian classic The Night of Counting the Years (Al Momia), Manal Al Dowayan’s silent mash-up of belly dancing The Legends, and a talk by fellow contemporary artist and event curator Al Turki himself.

See the ICA website for details. **

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‘Mute Sound’ @ SLG, Aug 7

5 August 2013

For one reason or another people are just fascinated with Synaesthesia. The condition where people can perceive sound through colour. Unsurprisingly, it’s not uncommon among artists from Kwes to Nick Carlisle of Peepholes. Hence, South London Gallery Mute Sound, which explores this fascination with visual sound in experimental film in its Clore Studio this Wednesday, August 7.

Featuring films by Ian Helliwell, Charlotte Prodger, Florian and Michael Quistrebert, Steve Roden, Richard Sides and Jennifer West, the programme explores how “imagery, rhythm, shape, colour, and movement creates visual compositions that resonate as sound and music in our eyes and minds.”

See the SLG website for more details.**

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‘The Story of Wikileaks’ @ ICA

11 July 2013

A documentary from Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney, We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks is a quick turnaround examination of the controversy surrounding the website responsible for one of the biggest security breaches in U.S. military history. Following the (in)famous faces behind it, namely activist Julian Assange and a then 22-year-old Private Bradley Manning, who was responsible for the 2010 intelligence leak, the documentary explores the external machinations and personal failings that led to Manning’s arrest and Assange’s exile.

Not only a highly-regarded and influential documentarian responsible for other hard-hitting and politically significant films like Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room and Taxi to the Dark Side, Gibney also directed 2008’s Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. Screenings at the ICA run from Friday July 12, to Thursday, July 18. See the ICA website for more details. **

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‘Monsieur Fantômas’ @ Festival Paris Cinéma reviewed

8 July 2013

Honouring Belgium this year, the annual Festival Paris Cinéma presented the identity of Belgian cinema, from birth to the present, across films and decades, with Ernst Moerman’s Monsieur Fantômas (1937) being a clear standout. Shown during a cinema concert tribute of silent film from the region at the Wallonie-Buxelles Center, it presented a surrealist approach to the crime thriller, while not only standing the test of time but making one wonder if the cinematic medium has moved forward or just in circles.

A social satire and an experiment in the cinematic formula, Monsieur Fantômas is based on the seminal character created by French writers Marcel Allain and Pierre Souvestre. Repeatedly reinvented across film and graphic novels over the last century, the prototype serial killer was highly regarded by the earlier 20th century surrealists. With live music accompaniment, including flute and a guitar, the musicians played the soundtrack for the silent movie, enhancing the experience and accentuating the surrealistic vision of its director, while introducing its audience to a daring satire of church, the judicial system and commentary on gender relations, through Fantômas’ kitsch.

What is most impressive about the Belgian auteur’s work is that he manages to create a film that has stood the test of time on every level, both visually and thematically. Moerman integrates his admiration and love of surrealistic art into film by creating scenes that honour the avant-garde movement: a dune on a beach becomes a home by putting a door in the middle of nowhere, its decor on the other side, with no walls and lines in the sand defining a room. It’s scenes like that, with its home movie style of shooting, that makes Moerman’s exploitation of the medium so remarkable. In a postmodern context, silent film does not always betray its age and this piece exemplifies that perfectly because, in not knowing the year of the production, an audience could easily mistake Monsieur Fantômas for a modern tribute to silent film, with contemporary sensibilities.

More than that, Monsieur Fantômas surpasses much contemporary film in imagination and originality. An argument can be made for the technological advances and the introduction of various non-linear narrative formulas in recent years but imagination and artistry is also integral to making those advances work. As a way to evolve the idea of narrative, of successfully mixing art forms across fine arts, cinema and poetry, Monsieur Fantômas comes across as one of the first examples of successful experimentation in interdisciplinarity. Perhaps the proof of its success is in the added integration of live music, making Moerman’s biggest accomplishment the fact that a piece created 80 years earlier could still pass for a contemporary work, while building on a dialogue between art forms in a most innovative way. **

Festival Paris Cinema is an annual festival running June 28 to July 9, 2013.

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‘Cinéma du Réel’ @ Centre Georges Pompidou reviewed.

Cinéma du Réel. Re-thinking Reality.
11 April 2013

If you think that documentary is merely a photographic depiction of reality, the 35th edition the Cinéma du Réel Documentary Film Festival will have you reconsider. Offering discovery, transportation and new perspectives, the event held at the Centre Georges Pompidou presents roughly 200 films, its standouts taking the medium to new levels.

Otolith Group, The Radiant. Film Still.
Otolith Group, The Radiant. Film Still.

Continue reading ‘Cinéma du Réel’ @ Centre Georges Pompidou reviewed.

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Beyond the Black Rainbow

20 February 2012

As a youtube user puts it …. mix every single sci-fi masterpiece from the 60s to now (well, not any, but your “top of mind” ones), mix the hyperviolence, mix the secret compounds, mix every cliche you can imagine off (evil doctors, ergonomic furniture,  quilted spacesuits and translucent atmospheres… and you’ll have the perfect masterpiece: “2001: A Clockwork Tron Enter the Sunshine Void”.

I personally think Vincenzo Natali’s Cube (one another Canadian sci-fi classic) is missing from that title and the evident aesthetic influence, but still, “Arboria” could easily be a new Izon, or any other big & bad sect / corporation.

Beyond the black rainbow poster
Beyond the black rainbow poster

Beyond the Black Rainbow” is Panos Cosmatos‘ feature film debut, presented at the 2010 Whistler Film Festival and that besides Tribeca & the  Fantasia International film festivals… it hasn’t been released to the public. Received with mixed feelings by the sci-fi geek community the film hasn’t generated much buzz as you would expect of an “80s” new old classic, but it seems like the film may finally make it to ordinary theaters as a couple of weeks ago a new trailer was posted on the iTunes dedicated page.

We’ll let you imagine when “soon” of the “coming soon” takes place; until then, we’ll await patiently for our appointment with Dr. Barry Nyle, we want to be enlightened too.

BTBR in VHS... not really
BTBR in VHS... not really
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