Night of the Experimental Film
Art cinema OFFoff, present in Kunstencentrum Vooruit:
Nacht van de Experimentele Film 2018
Derek Jarman, The Angelic Conversation, GB, 1985, 78', kleur, geluid, digitaal
Matthias Müller, Sleepy Haven, DE, 1993, 15', kleur, geluid,16mm
Concert: Sequences (BE)
Bill Morrison, Lost Avenues, VS, 1992, 7', kleur, geluid,16mm
Philippe Cote, Les ombres aquatiques, FR, 2016, 11', kleur, stil, digitaal
Concert: Tom James Scott (GB)
Peter Hutton, Skagafjörður, VS/IS, 2004, 28', kleur, stil, 16mm
Ciné-concert: Elodie (BE/GB)
The fifth Nacht van de Experimentele Film (Night of the Experimental Film) flirts shamelessly with Romanticism. The great feelings which, especially in Germany, were grandiloquent called 'Sturm und Drang', 'Sehnsucht' and 'Weltschmerz', or ‘spleen' by the French poet Baudelaire, are undeniably back. The individual renders oneself as mainly subjective and solitary, modest in the face of nature and simultaneously full of longing to encounter the unknown. Just like the overwhelming nature, the all-consuming love dazzles man entirely during the romantic period. In this era, to love is to suffer. One only has to be reminded of Goethes Werther to comprehend this.
Ghent's record label BAADM (led by the graphic designers Joris Verdoodt and Mathieu Serruys) and Sofie Verdoodt delved into the high aspirations of Schiller and Thoreau, the Gothic dark empire of Edgar Allan Poe and the ardent poetry of Rimbaud and Lord Byron. Following their lead, they put together a fine interdisciplinary bill. The romantic submission of the individual who lives according to the principle of "all or nothing", the philosophical concept of the "sublime" and the aesthetics of dream versus reality are central to the films and live concerts in which the visitor of the Night can wallow.
Experimental film and music are often dominated by a more modernist aesthetics and a rational digital culture. Therefore, we have challenged a number of sound artists - both international guests and local talent - to look for the romantic reflex in their work, in juxtaposition to an avant-garde cinema that likewise emanates these higher spheres.
We confront the photographic film, the original formats, of which OFFoff has been making its trademark for years, with electronic and digital art forms, now that there is more and more attention for the analogue. A predilection for early photography, writing with a feather quill and the nineteenth-century craftsmanship can function as an antidote in cynical times. But do we have to go back in time and indulge in nostalgia, or can we find traces of neo-romantic doom and decadentism in the latest music and audiovisual art?
During the Night, we breathe new life into the Romantic spirit with contemporary alliances between musical impulses and cinematic desires.
- The Angelic Conversation
Derek Jarman was a British filmmaker, author, visual artist and iconoclast. In 'The Angelic Conversation' we follow two men on their journey alongside longing and yearning, amidst picturesque and at the same time barren landscapes. There is passion and devotion between the two of them, however, destruction and danger still loom around the corner in an occult dream world, erratically interlaced by religious symbols and mystical rituals. In her characteristic mesmerising timbre, Judi Dench recites fourteen of Shakespeare's greatest sonnets, as a kind of instigator of love. Jarman filmed with super-8, and transferred the material to 35mm. Art Cinema OFFoff will present the newly restored version for this Night. Not only the visual aspect, but also the original soundtrack of the illustrious British industrial band Coil will resonate more vivid than before.
- Sleepy Haven
The German filmmaker Matthias Müller ventures into the unruly waters of the mariner's world. With an amalgam of his own shots and found footage, Müller lets the images pulsate with fade-ins and fade-outs, to the rhythm of the imperturbable waves. In monochromatic shades of blue, 'Sleepy Haven' evokes a dreamy video portrait of sailors struggling with their unfulfilled desires. Naked bodies nearly drown in a sea of eroticism and destruction, Eros and Thanatos. Müller created a poetic film which hints at the earlier work of Kenneth Anger and Jean Genet.
Next up is Sequences with an idiosyncratic mix of soundscapes, dissonant tape loops and field recordings. This audiovisual and experimental solo project by the young Antwerp-based artist Niels Geybels is driven by a radically personal vision. Ideas about life, love and death, next to the desire for a return to nature find their way in dense textures, rhythms and layers. In between the impending waves of feedback harmonious sounds appear, like sunbeams penetrating the darkness of the ocean.
- Lost Avenues
- Les ombres aquatiques
A double bill of two short films, connected by their yearning for nature. Bill Morrison became renowned for his approach to found footage. Due to the degeneration of old nitrate film, historical shots automatically appear in new, surprising configurations. Distortion, abstract spots and stains construct the poetry of nearly lost frames in films which emit melancholic feelings of loss and decay. 'Lost Avenues' is a gorgeous account of a whale throughout mysterious nature images. In 'Les ombres aquatiques', we immerse ourselves again in the ocean, yet Philippe Cote gives man a place, like a romantic Wanderer overwhelmed by the Sublime. His fascination involves the gaze full of awe and bewilderment. That is why he especially captures the looker-ons on super-8, as they marvel at the aquatic wonders.
Tom James Scott
After two contemplative nature films follows an equally meditative and serene pedal point of the British multi-instrumentalist Tom James Scott. With his minimalistic yet expressive sound board, he is capable of generating a timeless cosmos in which modern composition, traditional music and improvisation merge into one. At the same time, visual and literary sources reverberate in Scotts personal symphonies.
The hypnotic films of the American filmmaker Peter Hutton, who died in 2016, are a loving tribute to the nineteenth century landscape painting and nature photography. The long takes and meticulously framed compositions of cityscapes or landscapes invite the spectators to take their time and look attentively. 'Skagafjörður' borrows its title from an extraordinary area in the north of Iceland. The film documents the breathtaking landscape in a series of desolate vistas, shifting from black and white to luminous colours. The result is a beautifully filmed investigation of reflections and mirages, jagged mountain tops and plumes of smoke, thick cloud fields and vertical shafts of light. Hutton uncovers Iceland's mythical character in its ancient physical landmarks, such as the impressive Drangey Island, but also in the fleeting moments which gradually transform the landscape. Hutton's films lack soundtracks. Timo Van Luijk, a Belgian artist with Finnish roots, and the British Andrew Chalk therefore regard the film as an invitation, not merely to add sounds to the landscapes, but to join them in the natural mystery. Their duo project Elodie makes the listener slip into a waking dream state through a subtle stream of tones, composed of the sound of keyboards, flutes, stringed instruments, reeds and percussion. Their touch is always soft and the mood is constantly nocturnal.
Tickets: 15€ / 11€ (reductie) are available here