EXPERIMENTA 2005 – 3rd Festival of Experimental Cinema in India
BOMBAY 23rd – 26th February 2005
DELHI 2nd – 5th March 2005
Festival Director: Shai Heredia in collaboration with No.w.here UK and the British Council India; UK
Funded by EFX and Kodak India
Curated by Karen Mirza and Brad Butler | 120mins
Nicky Hamlyn ‘Water Water’ 2003; 16mm; silent; colour; 11min
Reflections and refractions of lights, alternated in hard, optical flicker and gliding dissolves.
Neil Henderson ‘Polaroid Films’ 2004; 16mm; silent; colour; 9min
This film originated out of a desire to simply capture the arrival of an image. With Polaroid photographs there is a sense of anticipation with the image coming into being out of the whiteness of the film stock. This tension or anticipation is unique to Polaroid film. The films presented here represent an attempt to capture this anticipation and turn it into a filmic event. [Premiered at No.w.here launch 2004]
Butler/Mirza ‘Bombay Heights’ 2005; 16mm; silent [length to be completed]
A work in progress – shot in Bombay during Experimenta 2004
Nikolaj Bendix Skyum Larsen ‘Fade to Light’ 2004; 16mm; silent; colour; 1min Scratches applied directly onto the filmstrip gradually obscure an image of a candle. [Premiered at no.w.here launch 2004]
Emma Hart ‘Skin Film’ 2003; 16mm; silent; colour; 11min
“Going from my head to my toes I stuck strips of splicing tape to myself, taking off the top layer of my skin. I then stuck this down onto clear 16mm film leader, using 300 feet in total. It is my actual skin that goes through the projector. I have made a film of how much space I take up and this takes 11 minutes to watch” [EH]
David Hall and Tony Sinden ‘Between 1973’ 16mm, sound, colour, 19min David Hall and Tony Sinden ‘This Surface 1973’ 16mm sound colour 19min
‘Between’ and ‘This Surface’ are two films from the series:View, This Surface, Actor, Edge and Between made by David Hall and Tony Sinden in 1973. The films explore the relationship between screen image and spatio-temporal illusion – the materiality of the screen in relationship to the image as representation.
Chris Welsby ‘Colour Separation’ 1974-1976; 16mm; silent; colour; 2min This film is based on the colour separation process. High contrast film stock was run three times through a stationary camera, once for each of the light primaries. In the composite image, anything moving is represented in primary or secondary colour whilst anything still, having been filmed through all three filters, is represented in ‘correct’ colour [CW]
Nicolas Rey ‘Terminus For You’ 1996; 16mm; sound; b/w; 10min
Shot in a Paris subway with high contrast stock – the film becomes a revelry of the chemical process of reticulation. Pip Chodorov ‘Charlemagne 2: Piltzer’ 2002; 16mm; sound; colour; 22min A precise notation of a concert by Charlemagne through a process of visual discordance. The 6495 notes played in the concert correspond to 6923 frames of super 8 film. No frames are left out or were printed twice. The speed of notes playing controls the speed of frame succession. Discordant diminished fifths are translated into the following methods of visual discordance: flicker between negative and positive, between blue/yellow, between red/green, between different flicker frequencies, between clusters of b/w negative and monochromatic frames, between left right screen masking and mirror image printing, between cross fading between negative and positive images.
Curated by Shai Heredia | 180mins
Günter Zehetner, ‘My Adoration’ Germany; 2001; 16mm; colour; silent; 9min
A 9 minute obsession. Subject is the filmmakers fetish with womens’ stockings. The objects of cupidity are the filmmaker and two women, who are obsessed with making their bodies touch this soft cloth. This promises paradise for a moment. A ritual articulated in different rhythms, the film ensures the sacred nature of this fetish, by exploring its reason for being.
Noud Heerkens, ‘Re-Action in A’ Netherlands; 1976; 16mm; b/w; magnetic-sound; 6min
A man is alone in a factory. His loneliness is visualised with fascinating moving camera techniques and a mesmerising soundtrack.
Marie Losier, ‘Lunch Break on the Xerox Machine’ USA; 2003; 16mm; b&w; sound; 3min
“For 3 months, every day at 1pm I would hide in the copy room at work and lay my face on the Xerox machine. The result: a rhythmic animation of my face eating my fist.” ML
Lewis Klahr, ‘Daylight Moon’ USA; 2003; 16mm; sound; colour; 14mins
“Using collage animation, Klahr conjures up an evocative, hermetic world. The sense of quiet melancholy suggests a loss of innocence, both personal and collective, which is pictorially represented by the 1950s consumer boom.” Mark Webber
Francine Van Everdingen, ‘Monologue Exterieur’ Netherlands; 2004; 16mm; silent; colour; 2min35
A moving painting. The walls of an interior start to whisper. The silence of the inside, a room without inhabitants, is filled with the liveliness of the outer world. In miniature, the universe slowly turns outwards.
Kerstin Cmelka, ‘Halloween’ Austria; Germany; 2003; 16mm; sound; colour; 3min
“What makes up a (film) image? At first Kerstin Cmelka dissects a view of a sailboat tied up in a harbor. Using masks, three vertical segments of this scene are exposed from the same point-of-view at different points in time, and for each exposure the film strip goes through the camera at a different speed. As a projection, a “whole object” seems to appear, though a number of distortions are evident. Not only that the boat rocks unevenly with the water´s motion, the camera on the pier moves gently and constantly from side to side. The varying speeds of the individual segments produce a convulsive, accordion-like movement which oscillates somewhere between wriggling and almost complete motionlessness.” (Gerald Weber)
Amit Dutta, ‘Kshya Tra Ghya’ India; 2004; 35mm; sound; colour; 22min
A boy (who is also an old man) tries to tell a story. This film is in two parts. The first part deals with the ritual of a boy going to school, and the second part deals with the story-book. With a rhythmic structure, this abstract narrative tale is told using in-camera special effects. Mythological references have been used as puns, some of the riddles are from Somdev’s book Kathasaritsagar, and some of the stories from Milord Pavic’s “Dictionary of the Khazars”.
Amitabh Chakraborty ‘Kaal Abhirathi’ India; 1989; 35mm; colour; sound; Bengali (EST); 120min
Kaal Abhirati was the debut experimental feature of Amitabh Chakraborty, a graduate from FTII graduate. The 10min opening shot sets the tone of the film- a static frame with an outstretched palm and occasional passers-by are seen through a door in the distance. The film has four main characters – an artist-hero, his girlfriend, a garrulous and cynical figure (played by Badal Sircar), and a sound technician who records their conversation (and sometimes represents the film-maker). This highly theatrical film depends mainly on a rigorous symmetry of volumes and long duration shots that are either static or move in a slow track. Remarkably, the main set, the city of Calcutta, is emptied of all human presence other than the actual actors. The presence of Badal Sircar, one of Bengal’s best-known playwrights, serves partially to contextualise the theatrical origins of the film’s language.
CINEMA OF ‘PRAYŌG’
Curated by Amrit Gangar (India) | 180mins
Pramod Pati, ‘Abid’ India; 1972; 35mm; sound; colour; 5 min
“Unlike a cartoon film, which is a rapidly moving series of photographed drawings, in pixillation, a moving object is shot frame by frame, and then through clever editing made to appear in motion. By its nature, this movement is agile, energetic and unpredictable just like the pop art movement.” Pramod Pati.
Amit Dutta,’Masaan’ India; 2004; 35mm; sound; colour; 9min
This film looks at the story telling traditions in India by juxtaposing the past with the present; celluloid with video. A grandmother tells the story of partition (almost like a mythic tale) while her young granddaughter witnesses contemporary political reality. Someday this young girl will go on to tell these tales.
Sanjiv Shah, ‘Hun Hunsi Hunsi Lal’ or ‘Love in the Time of Malaria’ India; 1992; 35mm; sound; colour; Gujarati (EST); 140min
This is the story of Hunshilal, a middle class youth who lives in the kingdom of Khojpuri ruled by the King Bhadrabhoop. Khojpuri suffers from a plague of mosquitoes. The symbol of the country is the tortoise. When Hunshilal grows up he becomes a scientist and invents a drug for the eradication of mosquitoes. Made from onions, the drug is successful and Hunshilal is given an award by the king. “In the making of HHH, Shah has embarked on a most ambitious and precarious task of bringing about a kind of structure through a collage of multiple sounds,images and memories while making a definite political comment on realpolitik. And with HHH, Indian (political) cinema acquires a completely new dimension. It creates a sort of allegory that takes recourse not to mythology but to a machchhar (mosquito).” [Amrit Gangar]
AN EVENING WITH ADOLFAS MEKAS & POLA CHAPELLE | 100mins
Jeff Scher ‘Reasons to be Glad’ USA; 1980; 16mm; animated; 3min30
Jeff Scher ‘Yours’ USA; 1997; 16mm; live action; 3min15
“…these films were genuine experiments – starting with a simple “I wonder what would happen if.” The ideas come from everywhere – friends’ pets, objects picked up from the street, the walk of an overweight man in shoes too tight or the way two different watercolors bleed together to make a hundred new colors. Some of these films started from the love of film and the greedy desire to fill every frame with as much color and shape as possible.” [JS]
Pola Chapelle ‘Those Memory Years’ USA; 1972; 16mm; colour; sound; 8mins A short musical film which recreates in full color, the longings and dreams of a woman of the past, replete with trembling blue mornings and the anxieties of a woman in search of ful-film-ment. “The ultimate feminist movie” [Louis Marcorelles, film critic]
Pola Chapelle ‘How to Draw a Cat’ USA; 1973; 16mm; colour; sound; 3min
“The most perfect film about how to draw a cat.” [Jonas Mekas in the Village Voice]
Adolfas Mekas ‘Hallelujah the Hills’ USA; 1963; 16mm; b&w; sound; 82min
“A romantic Americana comedy – a hymn to love, youth and friendship” [AM]. ”Imagine a combination of Huckleberry Finn, Pull My Daisy, the Marx Brothers, and the complete works of Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, D.W. Griffith, and you’ve got it. What have you got? A film which is both deliriously funny and ravishingly lyrical. The story, or what one can make of it, concerns two men, Jack and Leo, who are in love with Vera. For seven winters they camp near her Vermont house: all in vain, the horrible Gideon finally wins Vera. Most of the film, however, is taken up with the highlights of the two boys in the snow-covered and beautifully photographed woods. The slapstick is as outrageous as the continuity is nonexistent.” – Richard Roud, The Guardian Replete with innovative cinematic homages ranging from Sergei Eisenstein to Jean-Luc Godard, ‘Hallelujah the Hills’ is a paean to cinema. Absorbing cinematic history into a modernist framework, the film skews the narrative by resurrecting visual and aural strategies as old as cinema itself: iris shots, speeded-up movements, real location shooting, novice actors, and a use of music that recalls the silent film. Allowing the ragged edges to show, Mekas cuts through the artifice as if to say, yes, this is a film!
Curated by Shai Heredia | 120mins
Pierre-Yves Cruaud ‘Le Silence Est En Marche’ France; 2001; DV; sound; colour; 3min30
“A horizontal arrangement of bands of light slowly gives way to emerging human forms, seen from above, passing through the frame. Through digital manipulation, a situation is suggested, but never seen” [Mark Webber]
Ho Tam ‘In The Dark’ Canada; 2004; DV; sound; colour; 6min
Made in the year after the SARS crisis, using video technology, but referencing the languages of experimental films, this video re-visits the images collected from the Toronto media. Through black and white re-photographed pictures, all we can see is the darkness of a time passed, a city under attacks and assaults, politicians scrambling for words of comfort, citizens living in a state of fear, distrust, paranoia and shame.
Ichiro Sueoka ‘Studies for Serene Velocity’ Japan; 2003; DV; sound; colour; 6min
This is one of the “Requiem for Avant-Garde Film” series work. It refers to Ernie Gehr’s masterpiece film, “Serene Velocity” (1970, US). The rapidity of the alternation of shots, and the sense of increasing distance between represented spaces, creates images of superimposition. The disjunction between the structure of the film as discrete units, and the appearance of superimposition makes the viewer conscious of the distorting illusion which causes the transformation. Just as the film object is filtered through a distorting mechanism, so all perceptions of the exterior are mediated by the individual’s consciousness.
Reynald Drouhin ‘Beta Girl’ France; 2004; DV; sound; colour
“This is the rabbit hole into my world. I hope you all do stay a bit here in Wonderland, for I’m quite interested in visitors. I often get lonely all by my Cheshire Cat self. It’s just sort of nice to know that someone is looking; here I’m defenseless, no guards, just me. In between all the spaces I touch I’m here now. There’s an infinite amount of babble to be spouted but for now lets begin our broadcasting day. Stay here with me and keep me company because even if I don’t see you there, I can feel you.” [Airalin]
Guido Braun ‘The Green House Revisited’ Germany; 2004; DV; sound; colour; 6min22
The green house revisited is a sensitive love-story with one extraordinary colour. It is dedicated to Mrs. Marion Graef of Giessen (Germany), who died several months before Guido Braun and Stella Friedrichs had the unique opportunity to capture these pictures of her lovely, but strange, mint green world.
Gurvinder Singh ‘Passage’ India; 2004; DV; sound; colour; 8min47
A Passage of time and drifting sounds through a house whose inhabitants work dexterously.
Mukul Kishore, ‘Snapshots from a Family Album’ India; 2004; DV; sound; colour; 63min
“Family and home, the definitions of both were to put to test over the years when my parents were working out of different cities. Both of them were nearing retirement, while my brother and I were settling down in our respective professions. ‘Snapshots from a Family Album’ is a look at my family over those five years.” [MK]
OPTICAL PRINTING WORKSHOP | 120mins
Co-ordinated by no.w.here UK
An introduction to the process of artist filmmaking through 3 classics of experimental film. Complete beginners, filmmakers and artists from any discipline are welcome.
1. Berlin Horse by Malcolm Le Grice
2. Charlemagne 2: Piltzer by Pip Chodorov
3. Adebar and/or Schwechater by Peter Kubelka
This workshop examines how these films have specifically used optical printing to create new forms of film art language. By breaking the films down into their component parts this workshop provides insight into how artists have experimented with film technology and how these technologies might be used to extend your own practice.
HIGH DEFINITION TECHNOLOGY | 60mins
A presentation by EFX (Mohan Krishnan; Prasad Group).
An introduction to the current trends and opportunities in digital film making.
LECTURE DISCUSSION with ADOLFAS MEKAS| 120mins
The History of American Personal Cinema
Adolfas Mekas will discuss the history of personal cinema in the USA – past present and future. He will also show a few films to illustrate his lecture. In 1971 Adolfas founded the Peoples’ Film Department at Bard College. In the years before his academic tenure, Mekas was an active writer, scholar, and filmmaker. He co-founded (along with his brother Jonas) and edited “Film Culture” Magazine from 1953-1976. His extensive filmography includes “Hallelujah the Hills” and “Going Home, ” a personal documentary about his journey to native country Lithuania, his first return since he and his brother survived the country’s WWII Nazi invasion. With the continued blessing of St. Tula, the patron saint of cinema, Mekas continues to teach film at Bard College in the Hudson River Valley where he lives with his wife Pola Chapelle.