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December 10th–14th, 2014 / Bucharest / CinemaPRO & Elvira Popescu Cinema / the 5th edition

Recycled Cinema: Films Made of Films

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International Competition - Recycled Cinema: Films Made of Films

 
Curatorial presentation by Andrei Tănăsescu
The competition program RECYCLED CINEMA: Films Made of Films draws on a cinematic tradition begun more than 70 years ago with Joseph Cornell’s Rose Hobard (1936), and takes the repurposing of film to new, creatively exalting heights. Working directly with pre-existing materials, the filmmakers isolate the alchemical elements of cinema and manipulate them to deliver fresh and deeply engaging works. Whether through playful enthusiasm or reflective analysis, each film’s post-modernist deconstruction of its source material engages the viewer in a structural game of active participation, drawing him in its own process of reconstruction.
 
Addressing ethical issues of authenticity and creative ownership, EL ADIOS LARGOS playfully restores the opening scene of the (supposedly) only surviving print (a black and white, truncated, Spanish dubbed version) of Robert Altman’s classic, The Long Goodbye. Andrew Lampert's self-declared painstaking restoration sees the protagonist’s nocturnal ride to the supermarket becoming a psychedelic somnambulist’s trip. The characters float within a cinematic space, where analogue and digital artefacts playfully deconstruct the mise-en-scene, blotches of paint transforming the black-and-white space into a surreal carnival of color. A mischievous cinematic (re)reading that purposefully gets lost in the process, down the rabbit-hole.
 
With the audience's eye trained and ready, Alexei Dmitriev’s THE SHADOW OF YOUR SMILE looks at the hidden pleasures that lurk behind and in-between the artefacts of VHS adult films. A cocky experiment full of irony that plays freely with audience's  expectations and simultaneously explores the possibility of re-inscribing meaning to the images by manipulating sound and removing them from their context.
 
Switching to different adolescent nostalgia, the sincere confessional ME, NOBODY AND I is a rite of passage into adulthood (or is it manhood?). Via voice-over, director Joerg Hurschler recalls and confronts his childhood idols and ideals. By literally becoming the macho wrestler, the mysterious cowboy of the Wild West or the alluring action figure (here David Hasselhoff!), Hurschler figuratively employs their specific genre stylistics to make them come alive. In the process, archetypes of TV and cinema are collaged together as the existential conflict of the director lures the viewer towards its victorious conclusion of self-realization.
 
Cinematic role-models undertake a different form of scrutiny in G/R/E/A/S/E, a self-described handmade décollage that takes the famous rock’n’roll musical comedy Grease as source material. Antoni Pinent literally puts John Travolta and Olivia Newton John’s characters under his camera-stylo knife: working directly with 35mm prints, Pinent isolates and magnifies the cult film’s pop(ular) imagery and dialogue of the cult film by splitting and splicing frames into a physical and formal cinematic remix that becomes a pure delight for the senses. Cultural signifiers deconstructed, the film’s campy, manufactured pop-cinema is taken to the extreme, letting the viewer know that its cross-cultural resonance (and dominance) has just begun.
 
The deconstruction of characters is taken further in Michael Robinson's THE DARK, KRYSTLE, where footage from the popular 1980s soap opera Dynasty is skillfully turned into an unsettling psychodrama that pits against each other the polar-opposite female protagonists of the TV show, Krystle and Alexis. Making use of soap opera’s good-evil archetypes and their trademark emotive gestures, ROBINSON’s dramatically-precise montage and electronic score transports the characters in a multi-layered, metaphysical realm. Recalling David Lynch’s split-psyche narratives, The Dark, Krystle transcends its source material to become a wholly original and self-contained work of cinema. The screening is possible courtesy of Video Data Bank.
 
Shifting registers to a singular character’s re-construction, QUESTIONS TO MY FATHER is an emotional, imaginary dialogue between visual artist Konrad Mühe and his recently deceased father, the famous actor Ulrich Mühe (protagonist of The Lives of Others). Questioning the boundary between reality and fiction, privacy and artistic act, the director cuts together excerpts from his father’s films, merging all the characters played by him into one person, in an attempt to find answers to questions that he never had the opportunity to ask while he was alive.
 
In the hands of multidisciplinary artist Wojciech Bakowski, cinematic soul-searching turns into confessional abstraction. In DRY STANDPIPE, working from his private collection of Hi8 videos, Bakowski literally wraps selected film sequences around CGI sculptures and presents them in their formal minimalism against a black background. Counteracting these conceptual abstractions with his deadpan description of their personal meaning, each sculpture’s signifiers are deconstructed with candidness and unsophistication. The result is a poetic piece of art unconventional in style and materials – an arte povera for the digital age, where artist and audience are on equal, analytical footing.
 
This free-spirited and playfully imaginative re-visitation of cinema comes full circle with the latest work from master of experimental film Peter Tscherkassky, COMING ATTRACTIONS, a (post)modernist homage to silent film’s cinema of attractions. His 35mm celluloid manipulation of fragments from advertising footage references sequences from silent films by adhering to their respective cinematic language. A pas-de-deux of form and rhythm, Coming Attractions brings the past to the present by offering a lesson in the history of cinema that is as much food for thought as it delights the senses. 
Directed by: 
PETER TSCHERKASSKY
Winner of Best Short Film at Venice, the latest film from master of (post)modernist experimental cinema Peter Tscherkassky, COMING ATTRACTIONS is an homage to silent film’s cinema of attractions. His celluloid manipulation of fragments from advertising footage references sequences from silent films by adhering to their respective cinematic language. A pas-de-deux of form and rhythm, Coming Attractions brings the past to the present by offering a lesson in the history of cinema that is as much food for thought as it delights the senses. (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF).
Directed by: 
WOJCIECH BAKOWSKI
Screened at Toronto and Oberhausen, DRY STANDPIPE is a unique object d’art. Working from his private collection of Hi8 videos, the visual artist Bakowski literally wraps selected film sequences around CGI sculptures and presents them in their formal minimalism against a black background. Counteracting these conceptual abstractions with his deadpan description of their personal meaning, each sculpture’s signifiers are deconstructed with candidness and unsophistication. The result is a poetic piece of art, unconventional in style and materials - an arte povera for the digital age, where artist and audience are on equal, analytical footing. (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
ANDREW LAMPERT
Addressing ethical issues of authenticity and creative ownership, EL ADIOS LARGOS playfully restores the opening scene of the (supposedly) only surviving print (a black and white, truncated, Spanish dubbed version) of Robert Altman’s classic, The Long Goodbye. Andrew Lampert's self-declared "painstaking restoration" sees the protagonist’s nocturnal ride to the supermarket becoming a psychedelic somnambulist’s trip. The characters float within a cinematic space, where analogue and digital artefacts playfully deconstruct the mise-en-scene, blotches of paint transforming the black-and-white space into a surreal carnival of color. A mischievous cinematic (re)reading that purposefully gets lost in the process, down the rabbit-hole. (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF).
Directed by: 
ANTONI PINENT
A self-described “handmade décollage”, G/R/E/A/S/E takes the famous rock'n'roll musical comedy Grease as source material. Antoni Pinent literally puts the main characters under his caméra-stylo's knife: working directly with prints, the filmmaker isolates and magnifies the pop(ular) imagery and dialogue of the cult film by splitting and splicing frames into a physical and formal cinematic remix that becomes a pure delight for the senses. Cultural signifiers deconstructed, the film’s campy, manufactured pop-cinema look is taken to the extreme, letting the viewer know that its cross-cultural resonance (and dominance) have just begun. (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
JOERG HURSCHLER
A sincere confessional, ME, NOBODY AND I is a playful rite of passage into adulthood (or is it manhood?) that is sure to resonate on multiple levels with viewers. Via voice-over, Hurschler recalls and confronts his childhood idols and ideals. By literally becoming the macho wrestler, the mysterious cowboy of the Wild West or the alluring action figure (here David Hasselhoff!), Hurschler figuratively employs their specific genre stylistics to make them come alive. In the process, archetypes of TV and cinema are collaged together as the director’s existential conflict lures the viewer towards its victorious conclusion of self-realization. (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
KONRAD MÜHE
Awarded a Special Mention at Berlinale, QUESTIONS TO MY FATHER is an imaginary dialogue between the filmmaker and his father, Ulrich Mühe, star-actor in The Lives of Others. Interrogating the limit between reality and fiction, privacy and art, Konrad Mühe edits fragments from his father’s films, attempting to find answers to the questions he never had the chance to ask him while he was alive. However the dialogue turns to an interrogation, and feelings blend together in a mix of conflicting emotions. A painful, but affectionate reunion, the film becomes both a way to handle the loss of the father, and of keeping his memory alive. (Diana Mereoiu, BIEFF 2014)
Directed by: 
MICHAEL ROBINSON
In THE DARK, KRYSTLE, footage from the popular 1980s soap opera Dynasty is skilfully turned into an unsettling psychodrama that pits against each other the polar-opposite female protagonists of the TV show, Krystle and Alexis. Making use of soap opera’s good-evil archetypes and their trademark emotive gestures, Robinson’s dramatically-precise montage and electronic score transports the characters in a multi-layered, metaphysical realm. Recalling David Lynch’s split-psyche narratives, The Dark, Krystle transcends its source material to become a wholly original and self-contained work of cinema. (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF).
Directed by: 
ALEXEI DMITRIEV
THE SHADOW OF YOUR SMILE looks at the hidden pleasures that lurk behind and in-between the artefacts of VHS adult films. An invisible protagonist starts a video cassette. The enigmatic smile of a young girl fills the screen, in slow motion, making us imagine an unrequited love story between her and the unseen character. Yet, as the source-material begins to censor itself via its unstable image calibration, the film gets fast-forwarded by the typical impatient viewer and the supposed “love story” takes an unexpected turn. Alexei Dmitriev plays freely with the viewer’s expectations, while exploring the possibility of reshaping the semantics of the images by manipulating their sound and taking them out of context. (Andrei Tănăsescu & Diana Mereoiu, BIEFF)