Watching


Cinema as art [18+]

I came to the system of modern art through cinema. I was a third-year student of the Academy of Arts, and, just like the other students, I felt skeptical about the chosen profession of an artist. They did not teach us the history of art of the end of the 20th century – beginning of the 21st century at the Academy. We all learnt by inertia, and most of use planned to be interior designers. During our studies, other courses, like music, theatre, cinema, became life buoys for us — everything except visual arts. At that time, I became one of the members of the cinema lovers’ club in Minsk. It was by studying the cinema that I got to know the video art — films and installations by Gary Hill and Bill Viola, recordings of the performances by Vito Acconci and Chris Burden, the Cremaster Cycle and much else. Then I realized that I did not understand modern art, which made me study its modern history and made me its part forever.

Just as any other film lover, I have a long list of preferences. Here I will tell you only about a few of my favourites.

The film of Philippe Grandrieux "Sombre" (in the Russian film distribution system, the translation was rendered as “gloomy”) is my leader for all its components. The dusk shooting is extremely esthetical, I like the gloomy post-punk sound and the soundtrack, I like the spontaneous acts of its characters — everything is delineated by the templates of Jacque Lacan’s triad (the symbolic — the imaginable — the real).
 © Diaphana Films Hard as he tries, the hero cannot see the perspective: he is eternally stuck to the cinema screen and its acts, and he practices different ways of breaking through it into the essence of things. Acting as a wolf in a children’s puppet theatre, he becomes a monster in the evenings, searching for his victims in the dark. In his split conscience, the main heroine is represented as two women, acted by two actresses.

I strongly recommend the grotesque and absurd film by Guy Maddin „The Saddest Music in the World“.
The Saddest Music in the World / dir. Guy Maddin © Rhombus Media The way the film director uses the possibilities of the era of early cinema and its code language is absolutely brilliant. To start with, it is worthwhile watching his short film „The Heart of the World“. Who, if not this Canadian film director, could have created such a brilliant film memorial dedicated to the centenary of the art of cinema?

I fell especially close to the somber film noir esthetics in cinema: I look for its manifestations in films different for their character and genres: a Gothic theatrical fairy tale „Institute Benjamenta, or This Dream People Call Human Life“ by the brothers Stephen Quay and Timothy Quay;
Institute Benjamenta, or This Dream People Call Human Life / dir. Stephen Quay & Timothy Quay © Image Forum ia cynical, dirty and pornographic parody of the whole epoch „Thundercrack!“ by Curt McDowell;
Thundercrack! / dir. Curt McDowell © Thomas Brothers Film Studio the magnificent documentary about fishermen „The Leviathan“;
Leviathan / dir. Lucien Castaing-Taylor & Verena Paravel © Arrete Ton Cinema the series of horror comedy web films „Rabbits“ by David Lynch;
Rabbits / dir. David Lynch © David Lynch the beautiful erotic historical film by Walerian Borowczyk „Contes Immoraux“ (Immoral Stories) ;
Contes Immoraux / dir. Walerian Borowczyk © Argos Films | Syn-Frank Enterprises a film about Francis Bacon „Love Is the Devi“ and many other films.
Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon / dir. John Maybury © BBC Films There are several films and series of the recent time which have made me happy. These are „Manifesto“ by Julian Rosefeldt; the abnormally normal „Toni Erdmann“by Maren Ade, the intriguing „Stranger by the Lake“ directed by Alain Guiraudie;
Stranger by the Lake / dir. Alain Guiraudie © Les Films du Worso and the cinephile and highly cultured hipster film „Midnight Run“ by Martin Brest.
Midnight Run / dir. Yann Gonzalez © Sedna Films | Garidi Films The best series of the recent time are the nice and sad „Olive Kitteridge“ and „Over the Garden Wall“; the investigation series„P'tit Quinquin“(„Little Quinquin“) (Bruno Dumon shot a masterpiece), „London Spy“ und „One Night“.
P'tit Quinquin / dir. Bruno Dumont © 3B Productions
© Sergey Shabohin

Sergey Shabohin


A Belorussian artist, museum curator, critic and art activist. He is the founder and the editor-in-chief of a portal about modern Belorussian art ArtAktivist.org. He is the co-founder of the investigation platform of the Belorussian modern art Kalektar and the editor-in-chief of the platform kalektar.org.

Links

shabohin.com
kalektar.org
ArtAktivist.org

FURTHER TOPICS





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    WATCHING

    About watching films: what to watch and how to see