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March 28th – April 2nd, 2017 / Cinema Muzeul Țăranului & Cinema Elvire Popesco / the 7th edition

The Transgressive Body: the Body Defying Its Own Limits – the Next BIEFF Screening at MNAC

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On Thursday, September 28th, Bucharest International Experimental Film Festival BIEFF continues its new series of screenings: Politics of the Body, created in collaboration with the National Museum of Contemporary Art of Romania (MNAC Bucharest), with the second programme: The Transgressive Body.
 
Mix of conceptual art, surrealist reverie, genre film, found footage and activist discourse, the selection creates a dialogue between five films which push the boundaries of the body and of its cinematic representation, exploring – through actual or hypothesized conditions of the body – themes such as the dialectic normativity versus difference, the subconscious, the irrational nature of our instincts, and – as an ongoing meta-layer – the versatility of cinema as a language and active agent in shifting perspectives and changing visions.
 
Serving as communication channel between the self and the outside, the body parses sensory affectations to be able to interact, understand and exist in the world that surrounds us. Yet its dependability and robustness hide a fragility that can easily alter the socially-accepted function of said corpus. Be they cultural, sexual, economic or psychological, the limitations imposed on it push it off-course, manifesting normative transgressions that demand to be recognized and accepted as part of our human nature.
 


Series curator: Adina Pintilie
Project coordinator: Dan Angelescu
Curatorial text: Andrei Tănăsescu
Thanks: Romina Banu
Partners: MNAC Bucharest, Sixpackfilm Austria, Agência da Curta Metragem, Fala Português! Association

Cover photo: Our Lady of Hormones (Bertrand Mandico), courtesy of Ecce Films
 


 

BIEFF’s longtime favourite Bertrand Mandico comes back with yet another tale of the psycho-sexual bizarre, the aptly titled Our Lady of Hormones. Shot in textured Super 16mm and bursting with the artistic glee of a passionate genre cinephile, Mandico’s film employs rear-projection, stunning technicolour and a lively and decadent mise-en-scene to tell the erotic story of rivalry between two actresses who become obsessed by a living-and-breathing, hairy lump of meat. A veritable surreal experience which genre-hops through comedy, suspense and horror, Our Lady of Hormones (world-premiered in the Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival) is a cautionary tale of human nature’s impotence of domesticating the very (primal) impulses we desire.

 


 

Screened within BIEFF’s long-term partnership with the prestigious Quinzaine des Réalisateurs section of the Cannes Film Festival, The Exquisite Corpus uses as material and thematic basis erotic footage culled from various sources. Revered Austrian avantgarde artist Peter Tscherkassky employs his trademark techniques of analogue manipulation, creating a veritable garden of earthly delights. In a nudist colony, a woman is 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. The film is presented with the kind support of Sixpackfilm Austria.
 


 

With YOU ARE BORING!, Vika Kirchenbauer delivers a steady but assured wake-up slap in the face to our repressed, closeted spirit. Through soothing and beckoning direct-address, a choir of people take turns addressing the camera, looking for (you!) the patient, passive, pent-up viewer. Their aim? To sell you, through stiff-and-stuffy yet campily nonchalant rhetoric, their performative bodies of difference and vicarious experience for your personal fantasy wish-fulfillment. Wonderfully subversive and confrontational, YOU ARE BORING! – world-premiered in the same Clermont-Ferrand – forces us to take a long, hard look at our inner (prudish) limits, while pondering the outer ramifications of our cultural hegemony’s consumption of difference. Rather than a jolt, the film leaves us with a warm, embraceful slap to our normative society's politics of representation.

 


 

Pedophilia – a taboo that elicits immediate and unshaken aversion, but what if you were the one afflicted by it? Guido Hendrikx’s Among Us Best Short winner at the Montreal International Documentary Festival and recipient of the “In Memory of Ingmar Bergman” Award from Uppsala International Short Film Festival – takes us through the confessions of three highly-educated, closeted pedophiles, as they describe their history of discovery, repression and (impossible?) reconciliation with this affliction. Never exploitative or sensationalistic in dealing with the unsettling dimension of its subject, Among Us operates as a non-judgemental platform for the avowal of repression’s life-long trauma.

 

 
A confession as well, Susann Maria Hempel’s Seven Times a Day We Bemoan Our Lot and at Night We Get Up to Avoid Dreaming (Best Film in the German Competition Oberhausen 2014) turns to look at a traumatized psyche of a victim of abuse. Fully embracing its subjective form, Hempel narrates the film’s intimate diary-entries and retreats further into the mind of her character by crafting her mise-en-scène with phantasmagorical bric-a-bracs pulled by strings. Hempel’s mesmerizing puppet-show convincingly describes the psychological and physical abuse, drawing the viewer down its downward spiral with childlike fortitude.