EKRAN UNTRANSLATED

Barcelona

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By Albert Serra

Barcelona es la ciudad en la que vivo y a la que debo la mitad exacta de mi formación, pero no la amo. Nunca he sentido nada por ella; como a una amante con la que sólo buscamos el placer egoísta, la utilizo. La usé hace tiempo, me fue útil, pero cuando me cansé de ella, cuando apareció otra, la tiré. Sigo viviendo en Barcelona por razones prácticas (porque mi padre tiene un apartamento allí y me deja viví en él), como un matrimonio que no se quiere pero no se separa por comodidad.

He amado con todo mi corazón Roma, la ciudad de mi vida, y después Nueva York; también Nápoles, sin haber estado nunca allí, significa mucho en mi vida. Son estas ciudades y, sobretodo, su imaginario de las que yo debería hablar en este artículo, y no Bacelona, ¿alguien puede realmente “amar” Barcelona?
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Written by Nika Bohinc

March 16, 2007 at 1:32 pm

A Malaysian Renaissance

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By Benjamin McKay

The recent success of Malaysian films on the international festival circuit comes as no surprise to those of us who have been watching the recent independent films emanating from Kuala Lumpur and supporting their development over the past seven years or so. A small but dynamic burgeoning independent film culture exists now in the Malaysian capital and the other film cultures of Southeast Asia have begun to take an active interest in developments in new Malaysian cinema. With Tan Chui Mui’s recent success at Pusan and Rotterdam for Love Conquers All (2006) and the award of the International Jury Prize in Berlin to Yasmin Ahmad’s Mukhsin (2006) it seems the world has finally realized the value of the work being produced in Malaysia.

The independent film community in Kuala Lumpur works parallel alongside an existing and long established mainstream commercial film industry. The Malaysian mainstream has however rarely in the past forty years or so managed to make much of an impact outside of its own national borders. Producing Malay language films and featuring largely Malay performers and storylines these films often ignore the cultural, ethnic, religious and linguistic diversity that is a feature of plural Malaysian society. The mainstream cinema is an ethnic rather national cinema. The emerging independent film culture challenges that narrowness by embracing the diversity of the society that is producing it.

The Malay language film industry does however have an impressive lineage born out of a studio based production culture that was largely centered in the city of Singapore. Singapore was a part of the British colonially controlled larger Malay world until it became an independent city state in 1965. The first screenings of films commenced in what was then Malaya in 1901 and the region has consistently had some of the largest cinema attendance figures in the world since those days. Local productions in the Malay language began being produced during the 1930s. Production stopped during the years of the Japanese occupation, but commenced again in the post war era after 1947.
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Written by Nika Bohinc

March 3, 2007 at 7:03 pm

Posted in English, Mirror

Movement in Terrible Immobility

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By Gabe Klinger

I am writing dually from the two cities that, more than any of others, have been forced upon me by life circumstances: São Paulo, Brazil, and Chicago, USA – cities that, in just about every which way imaginable, have little correspondence, except of course in their vast differences. Having just returned from a month-long stay in the South American megalopolis to the Midwestern “windy city” – where I live for most of the year –, these differences are rather simple to define: São Paulo is tropical and temperately pleasant while Chicago tends to push its seasonal limits (enduring bitterly long winters is unfortunately a reality here); São Paulo is situated in an underdeveloped country and the poverty is everywhere while Chicago – like most major U.S. cities – tends to hide (i.e. segregate) its destitution from the glossy business landscape that dominates downtown areas; and lastly, São Paulo is a thriving industry city and even gets to call itself the economic center of Latin America while Chicago lost its claim as the “second city” (next to New York) when Midwestern industry began to disperse to neighboring towns a quarter of a century ago in a successful attempt to raise living wages (we have a nifty word for it: gentrification).
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Written by Nika Bohinc

January 23, 2007 at 1:45 pm

The Secret Life of Naomi Kawase

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By Nuno Sena

As main guest of doclisboa 2006 special programme on contemporary Japanese documentary, aptly titled »Minimal Stories«, Naomi Kawase was eagerly waited by both the public and the festival’s team (of which I’m also part of as a programmer). After having seen some of her films, namely her very first-person documentaries, you can almost become convinced that you know all about her, that in some way you’ve already been introduced to her even if only through cinema. But you don’t. No matter how much self-exposure she allows or forces into her films, the truth is that she’s still keeping a lot to herself.

She arrived in Lisbon accompanied by her husband and their 2 year-old son, who stars in her latest film Tarachime and who has now become an indistinguishable part of her life and work. She wouldn’t have come unless she would bring her close family. Understandably, since her life story is profoundly marked by her mother and father’s absences (in his case even from before her birth), leaving a hole in her heart that has been at the centre of both her fictional and documentary work. You can only guess how her inescapable attachment to her own child is some kind of compensation to her own previous deprivation of normal family bonds (except from the loving grandmother who raised her and who appears in Katatsumori and in some other films).
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Written by Nika Bohinc

November 20, 2006 at 7:14 pm

Maynila, Setyembre (a very tattered postcard from the other side of the ball)

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by Khavn de la Cruz

what’s happening here in the philippines?

there’s jeffrey jeturian’s »kubrador«, aka »the bet collector«, doing the festival rounds. jeffrey is a batchmate of lav diaz in regal films’ low-budget film spree. (helmed by mother lily, regal films is an entertainment dinosaur that makes movies that appeal to a broad range of Filipinos.) ka elmo, who will die in the end of this postcard, also acted in »kubrador«.

the deadline for next year’s »cinemalaya«, the third edition, is this september. (cinemalaya is a project of channel 5, in partnership with the cultural center of the philippines and the university of the philippines film institute. cinemalaya has a film competition, exhibitions, expo, market, seminars, and conferences.) two of this year’s winners are begininning to tour the festival circuit. adolf alix’s »donsol«, a love story with whale sharks, just won in a marine festival in japan. mike sandejas’ »just like before«, a fictional rockumentary about the dawn, a pinoy band from the 80s, is competing in pusan, along with paulo villaluna & ellen ramos’ »ilusyon« and jeturian’s »kubrador«, both in exhibition.
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Written by Nika Bohinc

September 13, 2006 at 8:38 pm

The Living Screen

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By Maja Manojlovič

You only realize why L.A. embodies the paradoxical status of both global utopian dream machine and the dystopian nightmare once you’ve driven out of it and onto the 10 Freeway East towards the Mojave Desert. Its vast space with ancient Joshua trees, curious coyotes – signifying the tricksters in Native American mythology, – and vacillating colors is absolutely magical. As an extension of Mojave Desert the space of City of Angels comes as close as it gets to an apparition, which is probably exactly what was going through D.W. Griffith’s mind when New York based studio Biograph sent him out west to shoot in the Mediterranean like climate of L.A.

This sense of the city being a mirage in the desert is still a very pervasive one. Anything having to do with illusion, fantasy, hallucination, or you name a variation of delusion, is the reality of L.A. This shape-shifting, fluid quality of the city’s material make up absorbs the projections of the imagined and imaged from all over the globe. It works similar to the 3-D, multilayered »screen« where the pre-cog’s minds projected their visions in Spielberg’s Minority Report. However, just like the Minority Report’s pre-cogs are in the service of the corrupt government, this apparently multifaceted screen takes in and mobilizes all creative imagination to serve the box office.
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Written by Nika Bohinc

July 3, 2006 at 1:47 pm

New York Cinefilia

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By Zach Campbell

A few hundred words to tell you something about serious film culture in New York City … where does one begin? Well, perhaps there is one introductory thing I should impart to you immediately. Over the years one could say that New York has said many »goodbyes to Dragon Inn«, losing many beloved cinema houses, and the concerns of Tsai Ming-liang’s film are as relevant to New York as they are to Taipei, as they are no doubt relevant in their own equal way to Ljubljana. Still, we have much to be thankful for in America’s best filmgoing city. Screenings here are often crowded – even screenings of supposedly »unpopular« films like those of Stan Brakhage or Béla Tarr. In New York, no film enthusiast could ever claim there is nothing worth seeing.

With this cinephile’s rich terrain in mind, I have become interested lately in what I perceive as an increasing local attention to the people on the other side of the cinematheque schedule: programmers and curators. It could be that my perception is has given the mere illusion of increasing importance, and that in reality programmers receive no more or less attention than they have received for years.

Let me offer some anecdotes, however. Amidst the installations, paintings, sculptures, photographs, and other film/video programs at the current Whitney Biennial a photographer named Christopher Williams has put together two short-film programs (spaced several weeks apart), and before I saw the first one, it was introduced as though it were almost like a work of art by Williams in itself. Afterwards, my friend and I discussed the interesting similarities and contrasts between the nine chosen films (which included work by Kubelka, Rouch, and others). In addition to some great films, the craft (or art) of the films’ selection and sequence itself was ripe for analysis. There were echoes and productive conflicts between multiple films on topics such as the artifice of the frame, the didactic potential of an image, or the role of narration, for instance. A similar thing happened a week or two later at the New York Underground Film Festival, where an Alexander Kluge video was followed by a live performance of songs by the great American composer Charles Ives, and then followed by some charming and crazy 16mm avant-garde films. (The themes here were sound and image, as well as our cultural history.) Where film programs may have their own publicly recognized »authors«, we can see a new strain in film culture, something like DJ-ing where you play your favorite prints or videos rather than records or MP3s. Perhaps we will soon see the day, here and elsewhere, where ‘programmer’ is a term with as much weight and even mystique as that of a good DJ. New York lacks an Henri Langlois, but the richness of its film offerings suggests innumerable followers …

Yours in the Big Apple,

Zach Campbell

Published in Ekran, 2006 (April/May)

Written by Nika Bohinc

March 23, 2006 at 1:30 pm