|PRÉMIO DE CINEMA para FILMES SOBRE ARTE - PORTUGAL 2009
FILM AWARD for FILMS ON ART - PORTUGAL 2009
"Why do they make films about artists, is it to documentate an art work or to promote an artist or are these commissioned, educational works for TV or so?", I was asked recently by my friend, a well-known Portuguese movie director who is also a scriptwriter, wondering herself about my enthusiasm in receiving and viewing so many films for the competition - nearly 200 from all over the world.
And then I explained to her about the investigation of the Israelian director DAN GEVA in his film DESCRIPTION OF A MEMORY, with his unforgettable initial cry "What dream is left? Talk to me!", who tried to find out what Chris Marker could really forecast in the film "Description of a Struggle", awarded 1962 in Berlin. A similar intention as had the Japanese RIKA OHARA with her compromiseless confrontation of Yoko Ono's thinking with the today's world in her film THE HEART OF NO PLACE, or CEDRIC VENAIL on the traces of the French-Israelian artist Absalon who died with 29 years but left us with A VIRUS IN THE CITY - all of them examples for the fact that artists can move or inspire others for the rest of their lifes.
I told her how I was literally sitting in the famous painter COLVILLE's house when he was talking about his life and work so freely and intimately that it became clear how he trusted ANDREAS SCHULTZ in making his film about him, as well as behaved the artist Wolfgang Tillmans towards German director HEIKO KALMBACH in his film IF ONE THING MATTERS - a film about Wolfgang Tillmans. I was witness of the secret and risky act when Michael Biberstein made a painting in the so beautiful film O MEU AMIGO A TRABALHAR of the Portuguese director FERNANDO LOPES, my breath stopped when I was entering the universe of often insulted painter Gottfried Helnwein due to the sensitive artist and film maker CLAUDIA SCHMID in her film THE SILENCE OF INNOCENCE - The Artist Gottfried Helnwein, and yes, here I even met Arnold Schwarzenegger in his office talking about art! These films can't be simply "ordered" - they require a mutual and deep understanding and trust between the film maker and the artist which can last for a long time, if not fourty years as in JEFFREY PERKINS' film THE PAINTER SAM FRANCIS in which in the end I had tears in my eyes when I came to know that this great artist had died last year...
My film maker friend got curious about the various obstacles combined with big hopes in the artist's life as you can see it in CINEMA PARADISE of the Korean director KIM TAI-YONG, or watch the reactions to art works' selection process in ART AGAINST THE ODDS by R F SIMPSON.
I could even convince her that it is possible to have inspiring, non-didactic films on artists who either don't talk to us or already died as it happens in JORGE SILVA MELO film BARTHOLOMEU CID DOS SANTOS - Por terras devastadas who told me that "there were no artists of the Colonial War, it wasn't appropriate, evidently.." - an idea I did not have before - or in ANKA SCHMID's film ISA HESSE RABINOVITCH - Das Grosse Spiel Film in which I met an incredible person/artist who did not care at all about any obstacles for continuing her work but took it as a challenge, "from my existence as a foreigner and an outsider, I try to create a sense of pride...".
I have to confess that it was quite impossible to describe to my friend the experiences I had when viewing the film EL SISTEMA, a film of PAUL SMACZNY and MARIA STODTMEIER about the visionary Venezuelan musician Jose Antonio Abreu who by his power and art already changed the lives of hundred thousands of humans to the better, and still does ... and no words came out of me after I was introduced to personality and work of the Bosnian poet Goran Simic through the film WHEN YOU DIE AS A CAT by ZORAN MASLIC - because sometimes it might sound embarrassing when we humble that art is really a strategy for human survival.... so everybody will have to come to the screenings to believe...
Artistic interventions in public are even more surprising when we understand the artist's vision, as it can be done through SOFIA PONTE'S and TIAGO PEREIRA's film DAYDREAMING IN PUBLIC or ON INDIAN TIME. ON RIGO 23 by LUIS CARAPETO. When I encountered artistic reality transformations in the film TERRITORIES DE PASSAGEM by SOLVEIG NORDLUND, I did not trust my eyes, and AUTOMORPHOSIS by HARROD BLANK will morph us all... I am sure.
And then, there is one more side of artistic practice... in the artists who seem so closed to ... do we know? .... who are masters in detecting connections and relations. Such as CALDER - Sculptor of the Air who, by French director FRANÇOIS LEVY-KUENTZ wonderful presented, narrates, "I absolutely adored her nose. It seemed that it just launchs up into space" - a reason for him to visit a planetarium... or the exi(l)stentialistic videoflaneur KONSTANTINOS-ANTONIOS GOUTOS who this year again found something "without purpose or plan" presenting it to us in his film MALANCHOLIA I, so clear, so close, so evident that we don't understand why we did not see in this way before.
I think after all, I could convince my friend, the film maker, of the attractiveness of the this year's program and that it is really not about camera zooming into paintings or watching a sculptor cutting material while uttering some explanations about his works or animated slide shows with overhead news' voices praising the history and importance of an artist, nor is it about a three hours documentation of a performance which should rather be experienced in a three-dimensional theatre place than on a flat screen! It is even not for experimental art films, it is simply about films on art.
But when I finally told her about a new, remarkable idea that we had to force the awareness for the importance and attractiveness for art in everybody - and that it was accepted by RTP2 - to extend the film competition to the house of broadcast, use public voting for the selection of the TEMPS D'IMAGES - RTP2 AUDIENCE AWARD for FILMS ON ART, she was really stunned.
So, please find the detailed program and description in the separate catalogue of the TEMPS D'IMAGES PRÉMIO DE CINEMA PARA FILMES SOBRE ARTE 2009, reserve your TV nights' session in the weeks between the 2nd to 12th of November and your full day film festival day's for the 13th to 15th of November in Museu Berardo and make your own research on "What dreams are left? Talk to me!"
Rajele Jain, September 2009