Following this post, here I bring together the remainder of my AV Festival coverage, written for Front Row Reviews. For a short piece on the spatial implications of a "slow cinema", click here.
|Ben Rivers and AV Festival director Rebecca Shatwell|
Firstly, five editorials discussed the festival's Slow Cinema Weekend. Part 1 summarises the panel discussion (pictured at top) given on May 9, which saw AV director Rebecca Shatwell chair a debate between filmmakers Ben Rivers and Lav Diaz, curator George Clark, academic Matthew Flanagan and critic Jonathan Romney, on the defining features and possible merits and limits of a "slow cinema" aesthetic; Part 2 focuses on Fred Kelemen's gloomy purgatorial 1990s triptych; Part 3 reviews Lisandro Alonso's first three features, images from which I haven't been able to shirk since; Part 4 discusses three films and mentions a fourth by Filipino director Lav Diaz, whose work gathers a unanimous praise I can't quite grasp; and Part 5 reviews two films by Ben Rivers, one of which - Two Years at Sea - is set for a theatrical release early next month.
The rest, in alphabetical order...
Two ghosts, resembling budgetless Halloween partygoers, endure a half-hearted pilgrimage so they can rejoin the material world. Utter hoot with momentary asides of poignancy.
A dazzling visual recreation of silent melodrama, utilised to dramatise a moment in Filipino history where one colonial power was exchanged for another.
Las Acacias (2011)
An unlikely, near-wordless bond forms between a truck driver and his two passengers - a colleague's friend and her young son - who he has agreed to transport from Paraguay to Argentina.
Let Each One Go Where He May (2009)
Thirteen ten-minute takes comprise this highly charged, fitting conclusion to the festival that brought together its recurrent elements: diaspora, walking and a self-probing spatiality.
Lung Neaw Visits His Neighbours (2011)
Making a virtue of minimalist simplicity, this was one of the visually finest films that screened in the programme - which made its editorial self-indulgence all the more curious.
Silent Light (2007)
An argument against the notion that an "aesthetic of slowness" is inherently of merit. Carlos Reygadas bookends an otherwise mannered tale with shots of genuine beauty.
Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter... and Spring (2003)
This polished film labours its central argument: that life's phases are analagous to the year's seasons. We kind of wait about for it to complete itself.
Still Life (2006)
Zhangke Jia's haunting piece blends fiction and fact and juxtaposes melancholy with wit, documenting the imposed end of a town whose destruction facilitates the construction of the Three Gorges Dam.
Syndromes and a Century (2006)
Already listed in my Top 100, this quietly hilarious piece is a suggestive exploration of its director's remembered and perhaps partly imagined childhood. A rural hospital and an urban equivalent seem to share staff, memories and metaphysical textures. Temporalities co-exist effortlessly.