Thursday, July 2, 2009

Elevation #1

A couple of years back I was lucky enough to work with artist Lynette Wallworth in editing and creating some of her film installations commissioned for the New Crowned Hope festival.

Apart from the joy of working with Lynette, I had a vicarious, sycophantic joy in being involved in her work as she was one of only a few visual artists to be commissioned for the festival, a celebration of Mozart's 250th anniversary, alongside a handful of mindblowing films: Paz Encina’s 'Paraguayan Hammock', Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s 'Syndromes and a Century', Tsai Ming-liang’s 'I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone' and Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s 'Daratt', Garin Hugroho’s 'Opera Jawa', Teboho Malatsi’s 'Meokgo and the Stickfighter' and Bahman Ghobadi’s 'Half Moon'. The films were all commissioned as so-called operas for the 21st Century. Nice.

Tsai Ming-Liang is one of my favourite filmmakers and his contribution to the festival was a killer. Sure, his films aren't for everyone and they are far from a ripping yarn but there is something pretty sublime about his combination of dark, twisted humour, melancholic yearning and uncontrollable desires.

This sequence from I Don't Want to Sleep Alone is, to my mind, one of the more mysterious and transcendent moments in films I've seen.

Like the sequence of the floating books in Last Life in the Universe...

...or the militant superwoman scene in Suleiman's Divine Intervention...

there is an intense, playful elevating magic in this moment. I've tried to feature animals in a couple of short flicks and that was hellish but, man, how do you wrangle a giant moth?

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