March 14th–20th, 2016 / Cinema Muzeul Țăranului, Cinema Elvire Popesco, Universitatea Națională de Muzică / the 6th edition
Journeys into Subconscious
You are here
International Competition - Journeys into Subconscious
Curatorial presentation by Andrei Tănăsescu
The films gathered under the theme program Journey into Subconscious take us beneath the surface of our mind, looking at what lurks in that intriguing locus of conflicting and extreme thoughts, wishful desires and latent traumas. Together, they present formal variations on the thought-processes that form us and by extension, use the screen to mirror our (mis)matched projected selves.
In an empty, non-descript room, two middle-aged women play out a heart-wrenching scene of child abuse. Testimony turns to reenactment, and as the moments go by, the stop-and-repeat psychological exercise grows in intensity. In front of the passively observant camera, the excruciating details of psychological trauma are performed, giving way to a flood of emotions. Nine-year old Signe is resurrected before our eyes as we take part in her adult self’s psychological purification. Brilliant in its cinematic economy, My Mommy by FALCK pulls us deep within the experiential state of the victim’s powerlessness. By the end, our communal catharsis is revealed to have a more significant scope as a simple pan of the camera delivers a powerful statement on trauma’s transference across generations.
Commissioned by IndieLisboa for the omnibus Here in Lisbon (shared with films from Marie Losier, Dominga Sotomayor and Denis Côté) Gabriel Abrantes’ Freud and Friends is a raucous cavalcade of parodies. Bearing the eponymous title, Abrantes’ film is set up as a TV show narrated by famous documentarian Herner Werzog as he goes on location to a laboratory, observing guinea-pig Abrantes who is volunteering for his scientist-girlfriend’s mind-reading experiments. Always the mischievous, self-deprecating filmmaker, Abrantes uses this opportunity to unleash a barrage of subconscious fears and desires (ranging from the cerebral to the gaseous), complete with commercial breaks (look out for the truly Freudian Woody Allen impersonation!). Beneath it all lie incisive stabs at media’s culture of beauty and sex, as well as the eternal fear of commitment.
Winner of the Cinema & Gioventù prize for Best International Short at the 2015 Locarno International Film Festival, Marcus Lindeen’s movie Dear Director is an absorbing mood-piece on the search for identity within the mirrored reflection of cinema. In 1980 jazz musician Kazzrie Jaxen had a life-changing experience watching Ingmar Bergman’s From the Life of Marionettes. Immersed within his cinematic world of duality and fissured identities, she realized she was a 'womb-twin survivor', the only child born from a dual pregnancy. Lindeen explores this with utmost gentility through a form of cinematic stream-of-sub-consciousness, observing Jaxen episodically as she engages in the process of internalizing this discovery. Accessible but hiding intricate layers of narrative and formal complexity, Dear Director is a wonderful objet d’art of cinematic musicality that unwinds more with each viewing.
A cerebral wonder of cinematic narration, David Rodes’ film Céos | Phoébé plays out within the liminal realm where thoughts and ideas germinate - the mind. Emanating from its deeply symbolic core, the film envisions its male and female protagonists meeting upon a vast, arid plateau. As their ghostly traces run circles around each other, their real manifestation brings them face to face, under the threat of a colossal electrical sandstorm that is approaching. Words in an unknown language are spoken, glances exchanged and the symbolic offering of an amulet leads to the possibility of communication and contact. Within this simple structure, Ancient Greek mythology is re-envisioned, placing the viewer in the middle of the conceptual plane of the mind. By dramatizing the cosmic meeting between the titans of intellect (Céos) and prophecy (Phoébé), Rodes imparts to the viewer the noblest of offerings: emotion.
Awarded Special Mention upon its debut at last year’s Quinzaine des Réalisateurs in Cannes, The Exquisite Corpus is Peter Tscherkassky’s long-awaited follow-up to his 2009 Coming Attractions. Using as material and thematic basis erotic footage culled from various sources, Tscherkassky employs his trademark techniques of analog manipulation, creating a veritable garden of delights: arriving amongst a nudist colony, a couple approaches a woman sleeping on the beach. Her fortuitous state of reverie takes over and we’re thrown into every celluloid fan’s erotic dream. Montage and manipulation guide Tscherkassky’s formal narrative of the seduction and coital triumph of the body, as it is reinforced by frequent collaborator Dirk Schaefer’s hypnotic sound collages. With its beautiful craftsmanship, The Exquisite Corpus disassembles cinema and the body in a delicious celebration of arousal.