Celebrating the history of experimental cinema
Dubbed as India’s first and only international biennial celebrating experimental films and moving image art in India, “Experimenta” kicks off on Tuesday.
The festival offers over 70 contemporary and rare historical films from across the world over six days at the Goethe Institut Max Mueller Bhavan here. The programme sections include Artist Profiles and Talks, Curated Programs, International Competition, Feature Focus and Performances.
In its endeavour to celebrate the history of experimental cinema, the festival will screen rarely seen archival restorations of critically acclaimed films from Mozambique, Algeria, the US, Italy and India.
The inaugural films Monangambreee by Sarah Moldoror ( 1969, Algeria) and Mueda, Memoria E Massacre by Ruy Guerra (1979, Mozambique), curated by academic Nicole Wolf (Germany) will be presented on Tuesday evening. Both films propose a powerful role for cinema in precarious times. They emerge from Africa’s resistance against Portuguese colonialism and are riveting documents of the period. As markers of historical moments of radical transformation, they are aligned with desires of liberation, independence and revolution both politically and aesthetically.
In the Feature Focus section, Uday Shankar’s masterpiece Kalpana (1948, India) recently restored by Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, will be presented.
“A great work of hallucinatory, homemade expressionism and ecstatic beauty, Uday Shankar’s Kalpana is one of the enduring classics of Indian cinema and is regarded as a creative peak in the history of independent Indian filmmaking,” Martin Scorsese said in a statement. Featured in the Artist Profile section is the extraordinary body of work of Los Angeles based artist Chick Strand (1931-2009), curated and restored by Mark Toscano, conservationist at the Academy Film Archive (Los Angeles).
“From her early experiments with image manipulation to her surrealist ethnographic films, Chick Strand’s works address notions of sensuality, ritual, survival, female strength and desire, morality, humanity, autobiography, what unites us, what separates us, what fascinates us, what repels us,” said Toscano. The closing film today evening will be Argentine filmmaker Fernando Birri’s epic experimental feature ORG (1967-1978), a monstrous, nearly three-hour long film that’s only rarely been screened since it premiered at the 1979 Venice Film Festival.
Birri is also a poet, painter, teacher and film school founder and is a key figure in Latin American cinema. For Birri, ORG was the result of his experience of exile in Italy. ORG is an experiment in perception that features over 26,000 cuts and some 700 audio tracks. Founded in 2003 as an annual festival, and then becoming a biennial from 2007, this groundbreaking festival is celebrating its 10th edition this year.
One of the most respected and critically acclaimed independent film festivals in India, it is founded by filmmaker Shai Heredia in collaboration with artists, curators, filmmakers and art educators. The festival has nurtured moving image art in India and has been responsible for putting Indian experimental filmmakers on the international scene. IANS