Sonia/iffr

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24 Jan 2019
Winter's Night — Korea. Quiet. Slow paced. Beautiful. Melancholic. Cinematography... very bright night... obvious artificial lighting to my eyes but love the combination of different colour temperature light sources. ☆☆☆☆
Your Face — Taiwan/China. I expected to see macro shots of faces... the face as a landscape. It was interesting to note how differently the females behaved in front of the camera, to me there was always more of a self-consciousness, an awareness of the self. In contrast the men, and particularly the elderly man that was falling asleep, had a certain self-assuredness. Certainly to fall asleep in front of the camera requires a complete lack of self-consciousness and level of comfort.. bordering on arrogance. It wasn't a bad film, but it didn't give me enough... perhaps it needed more than 13 faces to make a stronger statement. ☆☆
The Heart of the Matter— Short films by Charlotte Pryce, British LA based artist. Interesting that although the artist/film-maker is interested in similar themes that I'm interested in e.g. materiality of the medium, analogue processes, optics I felt it largely to be a purely aesthetic exercise. There were moments of visual beauty, some stunning images but overall I didn't leave inspired. This is something I should reflect on in more detail as it has implications on how I can take my practice forward without boring myself as the audience. Analogue in moving image doesn't draw me in in the same way that analogue in still imagery does. Moving image analogue feels so nostalgic to me. Perhaps it has something to do with the process... I've not used the process and therefore I have no connection to it. As a result all I'm left with is my response to the work, rather than relating to or having a curiosity regarding the process of making the work. I think my work ought to be relevant to those that may not understand the process, that there should be something to gain from the work in spite of the process. Also not a fan of voice-overs. ☆☆

25 Jan 2019
Manta Ray— Thailand. Bowled over by the cinematography, absolutely stunning visuals & created/staged landscapes (the lights in the forest). Asian cinema is not afraid of space, of slow pacing, of leaving gaps for our imagination to fill in the blanks. Introverted films or films for the introvert. Everything need not be stated EXPLICITLY all the time. There were moments that really moved me; I felt suspended in the flow of it... what an amazing thing to be able to achieve through the cinema screen. In contrast to last night's Charlotte Pryce pieces. I feel that pure abstraction with analogue moving image doesn't move me enough, in and of itself. Maybe it's the rattling of the projectors which remind you constantly of the material and keep your mind firmly grounded, acutely aware that you're in a cinema. Today's visuals, though abstract in parts, still overlapped with the "real" world... somehow that created a magic that was missing for me yesterday evening. How to achieve that magic? That fine balance between reality and the other-worldly, the dreamscape, the imagination... it's quite a tightrope to walk.
I loved the artificiality and surrealism of the lights placed into a sublime natural setting (the forest).
Kind of frustrated by the silence... the lack of dialogue. How can people have a relationship without verbal communication? But this film makes it seem almost normal, makes it seem possible. Are these my Western tendencies showing? It feels a little like a gimmick in film...I need to think about it a bit more. ☆☆☆☆1/2
Fabiana — Brazil. Interesting documentary style road movie about a trans truck driver. Cinematography wasn't great, but that wasn't really the point. Q&A afterwards. Good to the about the filmmaker's process and decision making. 80 hours of interview footage shot...wow. ☆☆☆1/2

26 Jan 2019
Tutto l'oro che c'e—Italy. Feature length non-narrative film about how people interact with the natural landscape in the north of italy. Kids playing hide and seek, a man cruising, a hunter, an elderly man with a boat... were they all men?... some beautiful shots but didn't need to go for quite so long to make it's point. ☆☆☆

28 Jan 2019
Piet Zwart Symposium: Toward a Matenadaran of Film Have to admit felt like our presence there was to just fill up chairs. Seemed a total shift from our current trajectory in the course, random and therefore mostly irrelevant IMHO. I think the subject matter is interesting but the symposium is really only of use to someone who has a very specific and narrow interest in the preservation and restoration of the moving image or an interest in Soviet cinema. I just felt the scope of the symposium was a too narrow to be of any benefit to us students. I found the discussion about the materiality of film to be of the most value.
Artist Talk: Diana Vidrascu Romanian cinematographer and film maker using 16mm analogue film. Discussed masking techniques, optical vs contact printing, Aaton 16mm camera (lightweight and quiet), L'Abominable (film lab/collective in Paris), Brocken Spectre phenomenon... really worthwhile talk to attend and some interesting ideas. She was humble and eloquent. She works commercially as a cinematographer in advertising... she discussed the idea of beauty and aesthetics. It was great to hear her not deny the formalist approach she employs. She has a background in stills photography. Good person for me to follow I think!
Diorama No.4 : Die Fernweh Oper (Try-out) VR experience. I've not really had many VR experiences. Once one overcomes the discomfort of the goggles, the self-consciousness of looking like a total weirdo with all this headgear as you look up into space, turn around, etc. , the difficulty of achieving a clear image... the experience is actually amazing. It was so strange to walk up to a chair in the VR environment and walk through it, there is a physical and mental response as though you are actually defying the laws of physics, us humans are so easily fooled. I see great potential in VR but the goggles are a bit cumbersome. Loved the ability to create a believable other world. The stars, the ether, the planet as it floats by you... it was a beautiful piece.

29 Jan 2019
No More Straight Lines Short film program. Could have skipped this one entirely. ☆
Ma nudité ne sert à rien (My nudity is of no use)—France. by Marina de Van. Honest & raw self-portrait of a single woman in her 40's navigating loneliness and apathy in the age of online dating. Though autobiographical, elements of fiction are incorporated into the film. Clichéd final scene. Q&A afterwards. Shot in 20 days over 2 months. Slightly depressing but definitely a worthwhile watch. ☆☆☆1/2

30 Jan 2019
They Shall Not Grow Old — NZ. Peter Jackson, mainstream blockbuster material. I wanted to see what war is like and I thought that having it in 3d and colour might assist to that end. War is fucked, there's nothing much else to say about it. Kids going to war. Technically impressive. Watching things in 3D doesn't hurt your eyes anymore (it's been a while). ☆☆☆1/2
Sadness is Uninhabitable - Alfredo Jaar artist talk — New York based Chilean. First time I've been convinced that art can make a political statement without preaching to the choir. A deep thinker confident in what he wants to achieve with his art. Despite the dark times he managed to fill me with hope. Inspiring. ☆☆☆☆


GENERAL THOUGHTS RELATING TO MY PRACTICE
I don't think it has changed my attitude to making film but perhaps cemented my hunches. I would definitely be interested in being a cinematographer for bigger productions; however I have no inclination to be a director, screenwriter or storyteller in the traditional sense of the term. I am interested in using the moving image in a physical space or environment that people can freely walk in and out from e.g. immersive installations. Not sure I want to force people to watch what I produce, I want to allow people the freedom to engage with the work if they feel inspired to do so or walk away entirely if not.