At the Museum
Goings-on at Museum of the Moving Image
Films as disparate as Altered States, Nosferatu, 1984, The Night of the Hunter, Repulsion, Tetsuo the Iron Man, M, and Sette note in nero are placed on the same emotional plane, each an evocation of all-purpose, free-floating, indefinable anxiety.
Structurally, Territorio is indebted to James Benning, whose geographical features are made up of meticulous static long takes assembled around central themes. But while Benning is the master of depopulated Western landscape shots, Cuesta serves up people and faces in lieu of places.
The setup of the film works less as narrative than as an inception point for numerous complementary and competing layers of fiction and reality, including the test footage for the film-within-a-film, scenes relating to its production, and footage of life in Tokyo.
Just as Jay takes his place as the figurehead of a pagan cult, so too did Kill List crown Wheatley as the king of UK horror movies when it was released theatrically, a speedy ascension to a throne that had sat vacant since the 1970s.
With naked bodies slowly twisting and writhing in a thick, inky chiaroscuro, a hazy but unidirectional light giving definition only to the rounded forms and flexing musculature of the women onscreen, it is clear that Grandrieux has painting on his mind.
"All the shots in my films are always the same, but they are different from one film to the other. In this film I did not want it to be too long. They are about fifteen seconds. It is the minimum. I cannot make this film with shots of less than fifteen seconds."
Often the idea of the avant-garde implies a somewhat detached, contemplative mode of viewing, and this aesthetic stance is kilometers away from Gagnon’s bailiwick. Of the North seems to invite rubbernecking more than any conventional audienceship.
This elegiac essay-portrait is unexpectedly timely; it concerns Portuguese cinema and its uncanny position between life and death, past and future. Its subject is a legendary film scholar, programmer, and longtime head of Cinemateca Portuguesa.
“I am not a political commentator. But as an artist, I feel that the authorities must allow dissent. There has to be a space for protest in society. There has to be freedom of expressing our disapproval of the state of things as well. This right cannot be taken away from the people.”