58 In between

Zehar #58

58 In between

Few aesthetic practices bring us as close to the experience of travelling as drifting through film stories during the hundred years of the cinema (à la Godard). Leaving one film to enter another, we are thus submerged in that fast flow of time and space constructed for our eyes: even though this drift inevitably nowadays includes rejecting the luminous transparency characteristic of the celluloid film and depends on a rather dull reproduction that is the result of the proliferation of the digital video disc.

Yet, whether it is at the cinema, on the television or computer, what do we see on the screen? What we see is that there is an agitated world before us in the image. Both in the past and in the present.

André Bazin said (and Víctor Erice recently reminded us of it at Arteleku) that there are filmmakers that believe in image, and filmmakers that believe in reality and are confident about it. In any case, the filmmaker’s goal would involve catching the life inherent to that agitated world (even if it is a life that will always end up escaping, inexorably, like sand through your fingers). Starting from there, we can consider the very time of the account (whether fiction or a documentary) as time open to that life, that agitated world, leaving us in the hands of fate. If we agree with Erice that the contemporary film experience is twilight in nature, in line with a time of a civilising twilight, we only have two alternatives: either intone a heart-felt and nostalgic requiem for film making, or learn to appreciate the beauty of the world again, even in the framework of a dominantly audiovisual spectacular setting, where we have lost the distance needed for the production. And even so, from that loss of distance, learn to be able to appreciate the beauty, while truly trusting (a la Rossellini) reality.

And we are, clearly, still too young for the requiem.



zehar58i.pdf — PDF document, 1450Kb


The Intuition of the Body, Time and the Sixth Sense; from Chantal Akerman to Contemporary Women Directors. Muriel Andrin

Whenever Chantal Akerman’s films are mentioned, the question of time rapidly comes up. Raising questions amongst everyone, she imposes her presence in short and medium length films (Saute ma ville, L’enfant aimé ou je joue à être une femme mariée, La chambre, Le 15/08), shot between 1968 and 1972. Far from being isolated, she fits into a whole, a film representation that is closely linked to both language and the body, but to the desire to destroy, at the same time, female stereotypes and the traditional performance rules of the cinema. Curiously, this “all for the art of film” did not depend on the film-maker’s own state of mind or on those years when she was working, and has been passed down to contemporary women directors: Marion Hansel, Jane Campion, Claire Denis, Marina De Van, Lucie Hadzihalilovic, Julie Taymor, Isabel Coixet, Mira Nair or even Naomi Kawase who, thus, have revisited this film configuration of the world of characters and of the utterance of narrative. Yet beyond this, these directors have introduced these reflections in the field of classical narrative or even commercial films, setting them apart from their original experimental value.

Muriel Andrin_eng.pdf — PDF document, 151Kb


Numax, our university: Conversation with Joaquim Jordà. Marina Garcés

In 1979, Joaquim Jordà filmed a documentary about the experiment in self-management that the workers at the Numax electrical appliance factory carried out in response to the attempt by its owners to close it down in an irregular manner. The documentary was made with the express wish of the Workers’ Committee at Numax which, when the filming was almost completed, decided to invest the last 600,000 pesetas from the strike fund in recording the process that they had all been involved in.

Now, Joaquim Jordà has filmed Veinte años no es nada (Twenty years is nothing), a documentary that aims to reconstruct the history of the last twenty-five years of Spain by taking the lives of the people involved in this experiment in self-management at the Numax factory as a starting point.

Marina Garces_eng.pdf — PDF document, 97Kb


Trinh T. Minh-ha, on the moving frontier. Susana Blas

“Why do we continue to be oppressed and continue to oppress others? It’s all much more complex than that positioning of the sources of power you get in a certain type of political cinema. The political can be seen from many different angles; it is not enough just to centre on a political theme and then reproduce the entire ideological language of the mainstream and its oppressive mechanisms. All aspects of the film need to be political, even the formal and structural ones, not just the contents”.

Blas_eng.pdf — PDF document, 124Kb


Jørgen Leth, filmmaker. Olatz González Abrisketa, Iñaki Imaz, Asier mendizabal

“Film is a series of images put together. Not a sequence, not a story, but a series of images, nothing more. The order of the images is less important than the single image. The final consequence of that assertion is that the images may be put together blindfolded. That their order may be determined by means of rules that make allowance for a strong element of chance. Like William Burroughs, I consider chance a great inspiration. I allow chance some leeway in my films, during shootings, but often during editing, too. In various ways, I invite chance to join in the game”.

–Jørgen Leth
This is my Working-Credo, which still holds

Gonzalez_eng.pdf — PDF document, 127Kb


Audio-visual? Carmen Pardo

Lettrism was an artistic movement founded in 1945 in Paris by the Rumanian poet Isidore Isou. The latter and his main follower, Maurice Lemaître, with the incidental complicity of Gil J. Wolman, Guy Debord, François Dufrêne, Marc’O and others laid the foundations for lettrist cinema in the early 1950s: the discrepancy between sound and image; the deconstructive engraving of arbitrary images (films that they had come across, laboratory rejects, etc.); syncinema or screenings conceived as events like happenings; infinitesimal cinema (that emphasises the imaginary world and wipes out the usual elements in what we normally understand by cinema); poly-automatism or the unpredictable laws of chance…* To mark the season held in the MACBA, “Lettrist cinema, between discrepancy and rebellion,” the author analyses the relationship between looking and listening in cinema.

Pardo_es.pdf — PDF document, 95Kb


My work environment as a musician. Ferran Fages

Environment can mean a lot of things. You can reflect on this from a geographical, historical, professional, artistic, emotional, political, social viewpoint... If I consider the word “environment” in my work as a musician, I mainly want to talk about the environment I face each day.

Ferran_eng.pdf — PDF document, 85Kb


Despotism of frontiers. Dimitris Kariofilis

The unnecessary tyranny of settlements, the needless weight of identity, the unwished despotism of frontiers.

Kariofilis_eng.pdf — PDF document, 79Kb


Araki: Self, Life, Death. Itziar Bilbao

Barbican Centre, London
Del 6 de octubre al 22 de enero de 2006

Llego al Barbican y lo encuentro lleno de visitantes variopintos: estudiantes japoneses; estudiantes de arte vestidos con sus mejores despojos de Brick Lane; hombres maduros que pasean morosamente ante los retratos de chicas amarradas, a pesar de que muchos están manchados con brochazos y gotones de pintura fluorescente que apenas dejan ver nada jugoso. Araki, al contrario que muchos artistas, no se sonroja nunca. Sus detractores son en general aquellos a los que hace sonrojarse: el exhibicionismo, la banalidad, la sentimentalidad, la enfermiza compulsividad de Araki. Si hay una lección que todo artista debe aprender de él, es ésta: nunca pienses dos veces en la legitimidad de una idea o una imagen. No te cortes, hazla. La exposición en el Barbican Centre es el trabajo de tres comisarias buceando en los archivos interminables de Araki, porque él está ya, seguramente, a diez mil imágenes por delante de ellas. Cada foto es un pequeño evento que afirma su presencia en la tierra.

Araki_eng.pdf — PDF document, 73Kb
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