Our coverage continues on Toronto’s small gauge film festival The 8 Fest. For full schedule:
Today’s write up is by Jacqueline Valencia.
1. L’Inventaire by Martine Syms (Friday, January 30 11pm Bagerooo, eight! Part One)
“On screen a man gestures to describe the various parts of a hardcover book, while a woman recounts the books that have changed her life in Jacques Prévert’s poetic style.”
As a woman imparts the many books that have affected her, a man considers a hardcover book he is holding. While he directs the viewer to the different parts of the book, the woman engages the viewer with anecdotal pictures of the books in her life. Maya Angelou is referenced. The binding, the shape, the sounds of the shuffling of the paper within are contemplations. There’s no hint to the tale within in the book, but the woman reveals beyond the tale of inside of the book, it lives on in its reader. There are many perspectives displayed this world of the novel, the word, a communication device that lures a viewer first by its cover. The textures of the book are just as confessional as Prévert’s cinematic and poetic realism, Angelou’s lyrical & historical richness, and in the woman’s strength of character in relating her love for books. Curiously, the man sits and cracks the binding while hanging the book upside down, making it look like a bird in flight. The stories within transport and transform.
2. Jacumba Song by Baba Hillman (Friday January 30 11pm Bangeroo, eight! Part One)
“Lucienne Delyle, Tsygan the dog, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and a mantis meet in the desert to take the waters and sing of love.
An anarchistic exploration of mythologies and performative languages of romantic love and illusion combining legend, cartoon and dream. Shot in the Anza Borrego desert on Kodachrome and Ektachrome Super 8.”
Four enigmatic and celestial figures from vastly different backgrounds are connected in this fantastical dream scenario. One dances on the train tracks, free from the rails that traditionally bind her in film. She freely moves lovingly in and out the red periphery, like the beckoning enchantment of a love song. Another woman in bulbous mask (I assume this is Blavatsky) speaks to the mantis as if wondering what it is dancing to, as it mimics some of the motions of the Delyle figure. Tsygan (Gypsy) the dog was one of two canines to have made the first sub-orbital flight and adopted by a space scientist. It’s interesting to witness four varied worlds meet to partake in earthly delights. The mantis, holder of gut instincts and camouflage, is a guide to the ethereal while it pantomimes the playful. The dancing figure suddenly stops dancing and steps back, moving backwards, observing the sky, the big sun. She becomes part of the structures and darkness that hides. Yet the dance continues and enchants the viewer viscerally illuminating a common search for more.
3. Interstices by Kyle Whitehead & Linda Rae Dornan (Saturday, January 31 9pm Cut Paste And Animate)
“Interstices I is the first in an ongoing series of collaborative, in-camera, double-exposure films made on Super 8. In these process based works, the second exposure is made with no prior knowledge of the preceding and the resulting vignettes become aleatoric and non-linear hybridizations of two discrete perspectives. Mediated through dual commonalities — the coolly mechanical equalizers and perpetual performers, the camera and projector, and imprinted onto the alchemical substrate of the film’s surface — the images facilitate the delayed delivery of this imprint on the retina. Unstable and intransitive by nature, the resonant and dissonant image-sentences continuously ebb and flow in and around each other, vying for physical presence, on the screen and in the minds-eye.”
As the camera scans the pattern before it, a pattern like a carpet mandala, it moves from side to side. It doesn’t stop to contemplate, continually surveying the same spots on a cycle. Light reflections appear creating patterns of their own. The textures of the pattern are painted by these lights, the dust on the film as it renders through the lens and the viewers eyes. The camera is unstable and seemingly unguided. There’s a disparity between the viewer’s agency and the camera that guides its vision. The tension is palpable, but the new patterns that emerge before the viewer are birthed from this chaos.
4. Gathering by Zoe Heyn-Jones (Friday, January 30 11pm Bagerooo, eight! Part One)
“Strangers and friends convene in the Island light. Shot and hand-processed at Artscape Gibraltar Point in June 2014. Starring Amber Christensen, Nisha Platzer, Karen Polowick, Caitlin Woelfle-O’Brien & friends. Music: “Gathering” by Forest Swords.”
When when black and white is used to reflect the outdoors, greenery becomes ornate filigree and lights in the friends hands become wands. The spontaneous synchronicity in the moment of frivolity becomes an almost rehearsed dance reflecting the unity of friendship and abandonment in moments. Sunshine makes halos evoking the spirits within the revellers surroundings and childlike spirits amongst them. Space becomes more area to explore with their bodies and there’s a give and take in their movements as they exchange smiles in the spectacle.