I recently contributed two film reviews for 4:3, an online film magazine which I admire a lot. The first is of Bernadett Tuza-Ritter's documentary A Woman Captured and the second is of Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor's Caniba; both films recently screened at Melbourne International Film Festival and Revelation Perth International Film Festival.
Filtering by Tag: Revelation International Film Festival
I’ll be presenting a paper titled “A War on Indirectness: Kazuo Hara’s The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On” at this year’s Revelation Academic, the academic sidebar of the Revelation International Film Festival.
Here’s the abstract:
In a cabinet meeting in Tokyo, 1941, Emperor Hirohito was presented with a final opportunity to halt the momentum for war – a war, history suggests, he was reluctant to partake in. Instead he recited a poem – an anti-war lament written by his grandfather Meiji. Broadly interpreted by those in the room as regretful approval, the war pressed on, millions of lives were lost, and Japan emerged a devastated nation.
Kazuo Hara’s infamous 1987 documentary, The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On – featuring the unforgettable, fanatical dissident, Kenzo Okuzaki – is among a series of well-known postwar Japanese films examining the Pacific War and the Emperor’s complicity in the nation’s war involvement. What distinguishes Hara’s film is its steadfast refusal of connotative imagery, absence of poetic language, and its empirical approach in ascertaining truth – traits that mark it in radical contrast to the vast majority of Japanese cinema.
Indeed, The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On is not merely a powerful anti-war statement; this paper considers the film as a sustained attack on indirectness – of poetry, myth, ambiguity, cinematic language, and the polite obliqueness of Japanese speech and culture more broadly – which continues to obstruct Japan’s engagement with its militant past.
This year I was on the selection committee for Revelation International Film Festival's experimental film showcase, described by the festival as:
Personal Visions, Distant Dreams, Haunted Landscapes and Innerspaces. A selection of imaginative and fascinating experimental films, from abstracted forms through dreamscapes and diaries and uniquely personal explorations of the potentialities of cinema.
Highlights include Jerry Sangiuliano's Hello, Goodbye, Danielle Zorbas's Dodgem Paradiso and Manuel Alvarez Diestro's Displacements – the latter is among the best films I've seen all year. The full programme:
- Shift (Max Hattler)
- Supernova (Gregory Godhard)
- Merge (Erin Coates)
- Skin Freak (Ian Haig)
- Dodgem Paradiso (Danielle Zorbas)
- Drausen Ist Wo Du Nicht Bist (Friederike Hoppe)
- Undefined Definition II – The Garden Isle (Nicola Walkerden)
- Displacements (Manuel Alvarez Diestro)
- Hello, Goodbye (Jerry Sangiuliano)
- Airplane Dance (Amber Bemak)
- Olivia (Tony Lawrence)
The programme screens twice, on Sunday July 6 and Thursday July 13 at Luna Leederville. Buy tickets here.
This week I'll be presenting a paper at RevCon Academic, the academic sidebar of the Revelation Perth International Film Festival that was introduced last year. In keeping with the festival's focus on independent cinema and RevCon's focus on the practical aspects of filmmaking, I'll be discussing DIY filmmaking in the context of Pedro Costa's In Vanda's Room. The paper is titled Patiently, Alone and by Necessity: DIY Art Cinema and Pedro Costa's In Vanda's Room and here's the abstract:
After three successful films that cemented him within the Portuguese film industry, Pedro Costa’s fourth feature In Vanda’s Room (2000) marked a radical shift in his approach to filmmaking – an approach he has kept since. Costa dispensed with a crew altogether, purchased a cheap DV camera, cobbled together equipment using household materials and visited Fontainhas, a now-demolished immigrant slum on the outskirts of Lisbon. Here, alone and over the course of a year, he would patiently shape a moving narrative about its impoverished, drug-addicted and forgotten inhabitants.
In cinema, DIY filmmaking is usually associated with documentaries, the avant-garde and micro-budget genre films. In Vanda’s Room straddles all three traditions and remains a landmark over a decade after its release, being one of the few examples of the DIY art film. Not merely an economic choice, Costa’s DIY approach is informed ethically by both his subject matter and his role as filmmaker and documentarian. The resulting film – its experimentation with form, narrative, duration and the boundaries between fiction and documentary – is a direct consequence of the practical methods used by Costa, and is an invaluable and neglected case study for contemporary independent filmmakers.
Here's the list of presentations. Register for RevCon Academic here.
Day 1: Thursday July 11
Keynote Presentation & Introduction by Jack Sargeant
High Stakes – Russian Vampire Films. Dr. Greg Dolgopolov
Time is Not on Your Side: Primer, and the Case for Your Low Budget, High Concept. Liam Dunn
Stayin’ Alive: Tony Manero and Deviant Dictatorship. Lindsay Hallam
Surrendering Expectations of the Girl in Julia Leigh's Sleeping Beauty. Kyra Clarke
Horror Film Zines Australiana: The documentation of Horror & Independent Cinema by independent small press publications in Australia 1985-2012. Michael Helms
Creating the Contemporary Canon: A Conversation. Tara Judah
There is No Independent Cinema. Russell Manning
Uncertain Regard. Merilyn Fairskye
Day 2: Friday July 12
Producing the University Feature Film: Double Happiness Uranium. Tom Young.
Patiently, Alone and by Necessity: DIY Art Cinema and Pedro Costa’s In Vanda’s Room. Kenta McGrath
Run. Hide. Fight. — Defamiliarizing Violence and the Aesthetics of Survival in the Short Drama, Excursion . Stuart Bender & Mick Broderick
Performing Failure Context Collapse. Danielle Zorbas
Toads and the Conquest of Mexico: A partial reading of Jodorowsky’s Holy Mountain. Michael Spann
The Eye of Maldoror: Un Chien Andalou meets The Day the Earth Stood Still. Leon Marvell
Can We Have a Falling Horse? Formal Boundaries of Social Realist Film. Grady Hancock
The Lion King – Capitalist Totalitarian Rhetoric at its Finest. Stefan Popescu