Central and Eastern European experimental films at the 53rd Ann Arbor Film Festival

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ann_arbor_film_festival
The Ann Arbor Film Festival is the longest-running independent and experimental film festival in North America, founded by George Manupelli in 1963. Internationally recognized as a premiere forum for independent filmmakers and artists, each year’s festival engages audiences with remarkable cinematic experiences. The six-day festival presents 40 programs with more than 200 films from over 30 countries of all lengths and genres, including experimental, animation, documentary, fiction, and performance-based works.

Date: March 24-29, 2015
Location: Michigan Theater, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
Website


FILMS

Réka Bucsi: Symhony No. 42. (2014) – Hungary

A subjective world through 47 scenes. Small events, interlaced by associations, express the irrational coherence of our surroundings. The surreal situations are based on the interactions of humans and nature.

Date: March 24, 8:15 pm
Location: Michigan Theater (Main Auditorium)

 

Grzegorz G. Zgraja: Transformation (Transformacja, 1978) – Poland

An audiovisual interpretation of a graphic score, beginning with one point on a raster-built “reproduction” of a facial image. Music by Krzysztof P. Zgraja, the artist’s brother, flutist, and composer.

Date: March 26, 12: 15 pm
Location: Michigan Theater (Screening Room)

 

Dalibor Martinis: Video Manual (1978) – Croatia

The artist balances a video camera on a tripod that is poised in the palm of his hand. The lens of the camera is directed downward, so that, in Martinis’ words, “it acts the part of witness and hostage of the action at the same time.

Date: March 26, 12: 15 pm
Location: Michigan Theater (Screening Room)

 

Naško Križnar and OHO: White People (Beli Ljudje, 1970) – Slovenia

Produced by the Neoplanta Studio in the Serbian town of Novi Sad, White People is the most ambitious of the many short films created by the members of the Slovene OHO movement and group between 1965 and 1971.

Date: March 26, 12: 15 pm
Location: Michigan Theater (Screening Room)

 

Paweł Kwiek: 1,2,3… Operator’s Exercise (1,2,3… ćwiczenie operatorskie, 1972) – Poland

A study of the relations between the individual and socialist ideology as carried out in a loose, open-ended form. Kwiek also collaborated extensively with his brother, Przemysław Kwiek and fellow students at the Faculty of Sculpture of the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts, led by the artist-architect Oskar Hansen.

Date: March 26, 12: 15 pm.
Location: Michigan Theater (Screening Room)

 

Elemér Ragályi: New Year’s Eve (Szilveszter, 1974) – Hungary

Ragályi keenly observes the chaotic goings-on of a wide range of people during New Year’s Eve festivities in Budapest.

Date: March 26, 12: 15 pm
Location: Michigan Theater (Screening Room)

 

Piotr Andrejew: Oscar Hansen – Groping One’s Way (Oskar Hansen – Po Omacku, 1975) – Poland

Documentation of seminal artist Oskar Hansen’s Open Form theory and teaching methods, with students from the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts.

Date: March 26, 12: 15 pm
Location: Michigan Theater (Screening Room)

 

Tibor Hajas: Self Fashion Show (Öndivatbemutató, 1976) – Hungary

This short film made by Hajas at the Balázs Béla Studio, takes as its subject a busy Budapest street and especially the passersby on it.

Date: March 26, 12: 15 pm
Location: Michigan Theater (Screening Room)

 

Želmir Žilnik: Black Film (Crni Film, 1971) – Serbia

One night, Žilnik picks up a group of homeless men from the streets of Novi Sad and takes them home. While they enjoy themselves in his home, the filmmaker tries to ‘solve the problem of the homeless’ carrying along a film camera as a witness. He speaks to social workers, ordinary people. He even addresses policemen. They all close their eyes to the ‘problem.

Date: March 26, 12: 15 pm
Location: Michigan Theater (Screening Room)

 

Kazimierz Bendowski: Centre (Centrum, 1973) – Poland

Bendkowski’s characteristically abstract work explores the limits of sound and image montage. Filmed at night in the heart of Warsaw, the film cuts up a panorama of lights and neon signs with sounds from the street, creating rhythmic panoply of noises and textures.

Date: March 26, 12: 15 pm
Location: Michigan Theater (Screening Room)

 

Katarzyna Plazinska: Chapri (2014) – Poland
Light, shadow, and sound imprint themselves onto ephemeral making.

Date: March 26, 7:00 pm
Location: Michigan Theater (Screening Room)

 

Wojciech Bakowski: Worsening of Eyesight (Pogorszenie Widzenia, 2013) – Poland

The artist focuses here on manifesting the constraints of perception, which disable control over shaping one’s own personality and prevent us from fully contacting the world. Worsening of Eyesight is an uncanny poetic last will, whose author strives to forge his own image in the collective memory.

Date: March 27, 7:00 pm
Location: Michigan Theater (Screening Room)

 

Wojciech Bakowski: Prospects’ Overview (Prezegld Widok, 2013) – Poland

By extending an incomplete vision, the artist shifts focus to the very limitations that exist in the perception of the world- always accessible merely through its incompleteness.

Date: March 27, 7:00 pm
Location: Michigan Theater (Screening Room)

 

Wojciech Bakowski: Making New Worlds Instead of Forgetting About It (Robienie nowych światów zamiast dać spokój, 2010) – Poland

A coquettish creative manifesto without any uplifting slogans or fiery declarations. Instead, we get an irony-filled recording of struggles with reality. The raw, punk form is ideal for the rough content.  The Making of New Worlds looks rebelliously to the past and can be seen as a love letter to the golden era of VHS.

Date: March 27, 7:00 pm
Location: Michigan Theater (Screening Room)

 

Wojciech Bakowski: Fear (Strach, 2005) – Poland

Bąkowski’s earliest moving image works are direct animations; Fear was created with saliva and black marker applied directly onto 35mm film.

Date: March 27, 7:00 pm
Location: Michigan Theater (Screening Room)

 

Wojciech Bakowski: Dry Standpipe (Suchy Pion, 2012) – Poland

The space described by Proust as the part of life proper, the core of the human soul is composed of impression or association-based connections stemming from the experiences gathered during a long time in many places. For the artist, these are monuments or altars built in the depth of one’s soul.

Date: March 27, 7:00 pm
Location: Michigan Theater (Screening Room)

 

Wojciech Bakowski: Construction of the Day (Budowa Dnia, 2013) – Poland

At the same time, both a soothing and dangerous journey into the subconscious. Suggestive visions disrupt the logical order and allow dormant instincts to have their say. Somewhere in the background resonates a reflection on the ongoing virtualization of reality. Instead of being a warning against progress, Bąkowski’s film – in a similar fashion to Making New Worlds– has a surprising whiff of nostalgia.

Date: March 27, 7:00 pm
Location: Michigan Theater (Screening Room)

 

Wojciech Bakowski: Spoken Film No. 5 (Film Mówiony 5, 2010) – Poland

A monologue that is poetic in its grousing along with provocatively minimalistic animation. Throughout this tale, which is told to the rhythm of the music, the narrator combines colloquial Polish, technical jargon, and philosophical ideas. Amid thoughts about the Big Bang and broken clocks, a tragicomedy of everyday life plays out in front of our eyes. Białoszewski would have been proud.

Date: March 27, 7:00 pm
Location: Michigan Theater (Screening Room)

 

Wojciech Bakowski: Sound of My Soul (Glos Mojej Duszy, 2014) – Poland

“Animated Film. Poetic Impression.”

Date: March 27, 7:00 pm
Location: Michigan Theater (Screening Room)

 

Wojciech Bakowski: Love (Miłość, 2009) – Poland

Animated with ballpoint pen on paper, Bąkowski’s original lo-fi synth score accompanies looping images with a text that is evocative yet terse, and depicts a fragmentation of the narrator’s consciousness.

Date: March 27, 7:00 pm
Location: Michigan Theater (Screening Room)

 

Sergei Loznitsa: Old Jewish Cemetery (2014) – Ukraine

The first Jewish cemetery in Riga was opened in 1725 and burials continued there until the late 1930s. After German forces occupied Riga in 1941, the cemetery became a mass burial site for over 1000 Jews killed in the streets and houses of Riga Ghetto. Following WWII many of the cemetery’s tombstones were removed and used as building material. In the 1960s the site was razed and renamed “The Park of the Communist Brigades”. In 1992 the park was renamed “The Old Jewish Cemetery”. Nowadays, the park, located in one of the poorest districts of the city, nicknamed Maskachka (Maskava is the Latvian name for Moscow), is a popular spot for idle drunkards, local kids and American tourists.

Date: March 28, 1:15 pm
Location: Michigan Theater (Screening Room)

 

Sergei Loznitsa: Maïdan (2014) – Ukraine

One of the most critically acclaimed non-fiction films of the past year, Maïdan is Sergei Loznitsa’s monumental documentary portrait of a revolution in the making.
Maïdan captures the events in Kiev’s eponymous public square over the course of ninety crucial days: from late 2013, when citizens gathered to demonstrate against Ukrainian President Ianoukovitch’s regime, to March 2014, when the protest became an outright insurrection.

Eschewing interviews and talking-head commentary, Loznitsa also refutes the jittery, hand-held camerawork of so many formless “Occupy” films or direct-reportage docs. Comprised almost entirely of static master shots, Maïdan exhibits a consciously rigorous style that is directly linked to the idea of the masses. In a bold and controversial move, Loznitsa rises above political complexities to observe the nature of the civil uprising as a social, cultural, and philosophical phenomenon, chronicling the sheer mechanics and vigor of human movement and expression as they are activated by political action.

Capturing quotidian preparations, impassioned speeches, songs and prayers, and the terrifying heat of battle, Loznitsa’s long takes ultimately reveal the might of the masses to come together and rally for freedom and independence. Epic in scale, breathtakingly cinematic, and critically urgent, Maïdan is a major work of our time. It is a film to be experienced and discussed, and one we will undoubtedly return to for years to come — not only as a document of a historic turning point for Ukraine, but as a moving testament to human solidarity and conviction and a formidable feat of filmmaking.

 

Date: March 29, 3:00 pm
Location: Michigan Theater (Screening Room)

 

 

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