A recently rediscovered Straub-Huillet fragment lends its name to the title of this programme that oscillates between adversity and emancipation, between holding on and letting go. Also featuring films by Camilo Restrepo, Joana Pimenta, Ryan Ferko, Kevin Jerome Everson, Tomonari Nishikawa, and Joshua Gen Solondz.
Wavelengths 2: Incantati
In a programme that oscillates between adversity and emancipation, between holding on and letting go, why not begin with enchantment? Such is the meaning of Incantati, the title of this mini Straub-Huillet manifesto recently discovered and rarely seen. An alternate ending to their 2002 film Umiliati (based on Elio Vittorini's Women of Messina), this fully formed fragment incarnates the duo's lifelong commitment to earthbound form and social resolve.
Set to the spellbinding rhythm of the maloya ritual chant from Reunion Island and taking its name from a mountain village where runaway slaves found freedom, Cilaos is an exhilarating collaboration between filmmaker Camilo Restrepo and Reunionese singer Christine Salem. A mini-musical shot in retro, '70s-style 16mm, the film probes the passage between life and death. Moving and mysterious, Joana Pimenta's An Aviation Field juxtaposes the natural and the man-made as it links the great utopian modernist project of Brasilia to the volcanic crater in Fogo, Cape Verde, and offers speculative futures for a troubling past.
Despite the title's twin references to eyesight, Ryan Ferko's Strange Vision of Seeing Things is a film about unseen buildings and conflicts in Belgrade: those deliberately obscured, those unseeable to a tourist's eyes, and those masked by monuments, their hypervisibility itself a form of obfuscation. In Kevin Jerome Everson's deeply affecting Ears, Nose and Throat, a woman's testimonial faculties are confirmed through medical examinations before she recites a tragic story, whose horrors we don't see, hear, or smell, but can imagine far too easily.
Intimate and contemplative, Tomonari Nishikawa's Ten Mornings Ten Evenings and One Horizon is a 16mm portrait of bridges on the Yahagi River, which runs near the filmmaker's hometown. As each bridge was shot twice — first in the morning and again in the evening — and exposed one-sixth of a frame at a time to deftly collapse temporalities, the sun appears to rise and set in a single image. Moon and sun are elliptically and stroboscopically conjured in Joshua Gen Solondz's cloistered yet operatic Luna e Santur. In milky, hand-processed images, hooded figures recalling Magritte's The Lovers enact a series of rituals in which an old trauma is remembered and exorcized.
For artist bios, please visit tiff.net/wavelengths.
This programme is rated PG.