experimental and personal filmmaking

Berlin: i am just back from a very creative week in Berlin, engaging with Experimental and Personal Filmmaking with Rouzbeh Rashidi and 11 other creative and fun artists. we explored experimental film and approaches to engaging with ourselves and our world through film making – theoretically and practically. the week culminated with a short film, using the ‘exquisite corpse’ format to scaffold our individual film making and unite into a film together. the week has been such a breath of fresh air to my making, thinking and feeling processes and i feel that the processes and theories touched on over the week will infiltrate my making in so many areas.

monday: i took many notes in my notebook, which i will post here so i digest and investigate the ideas touched on further. question: do you need a story or is to feel enough? watch Stan Brakhage ‘The Art of Vision’ – an avant garde film from the (1961-1965) https://harvardfilmarchive.org/programs/the-art-of-vision-by-stan-brakhage.

stan brakhage ‘the art of vision’

Michael Snow: another avant guarde film maker from Canada who explores non narrative cinema – “If there are ‘narrative cinema’ elements in my films I don’t want them to take you ‘elsewhere’ but to keep you here watching the film, a construct, an artificiality.” check out his films: https://mubi.com/cast/michael-snow

michael snow: cityscape (2019)

question: do you need to complete a film or is the process and unfinished film still a film? check out London Film Makers Coop. https://monoskop.org/London_Film-Makers%27_Co-op

physical cinema: a few thoughts on the moving image: where film is viewed and how it is viewed is important and effects the film and viewing experience. materiality: think about the materiality of cinema. light and shadow, the hum of the projector.

check out: m. godski who explores the dead and the undead.

poetic cinema: thoughts on poetry film and jean cocteau: poet film maker, symbolic and surreal elements in his work. read ‘diary of a film’ and watch films: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0168413/

jean cocteau, orpheus (1950)

occult: check out: ‘the kingdom of shadows’ https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6230538/

silence: think about silent films – the noise of silence, the volume of silence, the emotions of silence.

durability: what is the durability of film? is film ephemeral? will it last? is analogue more durable than digital? analogue connects with the world physically.

narrative: what is narrative? is all film narrative as it starts and finishes and shows the passage of time? does it need to be linear? can light and shade be the narrative?

belief: what is the process of the audiences suspension of disbelief? is this something to play with?

film genres: are film genres helpful, do they effect the audience experience? are all films documentaries, are all films narrative?

making: trust your creative instincts, no need to be too rational and objective. films are ideas. films are not about ideas. the personal is key.

check out: Pier Paolo Pasolini: italian film maker and poet. post war themes, extreme simplicity and stylisation, over saturation of colour.

Still from Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Decameron, 1971, 35 mm, color, sound, 111 minutes.
Pasolini, Decameron (1971)

content and style of image: what do we want the audience to experience – do we want them to look, look away, using strobes, saturation, slow or fast cuts etc. personal vision and instinct is important in making these decisions? is ours a viewpoint of alienation, familiarity etc?

read: ‘Devotional Cinema’ by Nathaniel Dorsky. this discusses the coneect bewteeen religion and film, the film experience. book is available at https://lookingatlooking.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/dorsky_devotionalcinema.pdf see also https://nathanieldorsky.net/dv

consider: think about the mechanism of film, the relationship between the projector and the screen, the way an audience interacts with these elemenst.

check out: look at french avant guarde film makers: https://www.indiewire.com/2015/10/6-avant-garde-female-filmmakers-who-redefined-cinema-56972/ Margaret de Ross: use of the voice over with basic images, playing with light and duaration, shadows and perspective, kinetic energy, a performance or paracinema.

Won Novalis: you always need 2 things that are are at play with each other – positive and negative, light and shade, noise and silence, illusion and materiality. https://www.wonnovalis.com/

process: watch all you can, gather and record all you can, set yourself some deadlines to process what you have gathered, see what happens. think of your gatherings as found footage, see it through the lens of the ‘other’ – this can give permission to move create and play with the materiality without the self objectifying it and getting stuck. try listening to the spoken word in a dark room and let imagery (internal cinematic images) begin.

the house is black: a film by Forugh Farrokhad about people with Lepercy, shows the humanity of the people. https://www.janusfilms.com/films/2088

Farrokhad, The House Is Black (1963)

Fuses: Carole Schneemann’s film showing ntimacy between herself and her partner, from the viewpoint of her cat. uses hand processed film, bleached, distressed and effected by the environment. https://film-makerscoop.com/catalogue/carolee-schneemann-fuses

Schneemann, Fuses (1964-1967)

read: ‘Notes on Cinematography’ by Robert Bresson. it discusses the difference between cinema and cinematography – a process and language, a phenomenon, an experience https://15orient.com/files/bresson-notes-on-cinematography.pdf

read: deLuze ‘Cinema I’ the movement image and ‘Cinema 2’ the time image – cinema from a philosophical view point, the dominant image, the composite image full of signs.

in any order: make, watch, read…repeat!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: