Iva’s selections center around the Portrait Film, a genre of documentary which seeks to humanize and/or make visible individuals in our world.
Belovy or The Belovs, Viktor Kossakovsky (1992, Russia, 58min)
“We are ordinary people, why would you want to film us?” – Anna’s confusion opens the film. And this may be too obvious a set up for the viewer, thought it does lure us into the curiosity of discovery. Magic indeed unfolds in the tiniest of moments, in gestures, in the combination of words, the ridiculous exchanges, the freedom of emotion.
From the Reports Of Security Guards & Patrol Services No.1, Helke Sander (1985, Germany, 10min)
A woman with a baby and small child sneaks into a contraction site. She straps her children onto herself and continues to climb up to the very edge of a crane that overlooks the city. She holds flyers and tosses them to fall onto the city. What do they say?
Costa Da Morte or Coast of Death by Lois Patiño (2013, Spain, 81min)
The Coast of Death situates the viewer into the lusciousness of the Spanish Galician coast and has them rest there, meditate. Each immaculate shot takes its leisurely time, it demands patience. It overstays its welcome and if the viewer chooses to stay with it, if they practice that patience, patience, patience…slowly you they transported into the sublime. Everything folds into that one moment and life simply is. The political and historical appears subtly and unobtrusively to soak the feet and embed the audience into its wet soil.
66 Scenes From America, Jørgen Leth (1982, Denmark, 39min)
In this film Jorgen Leth travels the Unites States to collect a series of postcards, literally 66 scenes. These postcards are intelligent, on the surface they fool us with what we’ve already seen but then penetrate deeper to concentrate on the nuance. Gorgeously filmed and brilliantly executed, it’s a portrait of a culture. Sprinkled throughout are iconic figures that represent it. See it here: http://dafilms.com/film/8355-66-scenes-from-america/
La Bocca del Lupo or The Mouth of The Wolf, Pietro Marcello (2009, Italy, 68min)
This is as much a portrait of Genoa as it is of Vincenzo Motta. Everything is mysterious and in beautiful decay here. While in prison he meets and falls in love with a transsexual prisoner Mary Monaco, and the two are reunited once they are both freed. The film oscillates between their love affair and the love affair with with the city itself. In a similarly poetic and musical way it travels between documentary and fiction, joy and sadness, beauty and ugliness…it all eventually blends into one.
Portrait Of Jason, Shirley Clarke (1967, Italy, 105min)
Jason is a gay, black hustler and artist who laughing through the 105 minutes of this film tells us of orgies, scams, stories his youth, his abusive father, of Miles Davis. He sings, he performs and he gets more and more intoxicated as time progressed. The stories blend into each other as reality is diffused, and made unclear. The interviewers goad him to misery until he breaks down into tears. But which Jason is he authentic Jason? After all, Jason is not even his real name. Is his misery “put on” for the camera or it real? Is it a hustle? Are we being hustled? What’s real, what’s not? Through Jason, Shirley Clarke shows us her vision of life. See excerpt online.
The Private Life of Fenfen, Leslie Tai (2013, USA, 29min)
Leslie’ Tai’s filmic experiment is a story of a tragic love affair, in which she gives a camera to a young migrant worker in the south of China. Fenfen starts a video diary, confessing tales of her love life and eventually assembling 100 hours of footage. The footage is broadcast as a “live” reality show on TV screens in various migrant locations throughout China, including restaurants, hair salons, fruit shops. And Fenfen’s life is consumed as entertainment everyone watches her story unfold. The film is brilliantly conceived, again blurring the lines as we go down into he rabbit hole. Fenfen is on display, the viewers watch Fenfen and as they offer their side comments, they too are put on display, and we watch the viewers, watch Fenfen. Watch it online.