Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Films at That Festival

I have just realised that I am not going to be allowed into That Festival at macrobert. Apparently it is for youngsters. I had hoped to nip up to Stirling, catch up with My Producer Harry - who is currently on sabbatical to a secret organisation somewhere between Stirling and The Bridge of Allan, working on the future of online radio - before catching a film programme curated by Mark Cousins.

So, I am going to miss Saturday's  Ecstasis Short Films (2pm - 6pm), which are free and on rotation. I might be able to slip in if there are no tickets, I suppose. But worse than that, Cousin's own What Is This Film Called Love (7pm) gets a relatively rare big screen showing.

Fair enough, a meditation on happiness might not be my usual thing - I prefer the meditations on existential dread, and I perform one of these most nights of the week. But Cousins made this film - apparently for a tenner, although I bet that doesn't include his budget for getting to Mexico in the first place - after starting to make a film about soviet director Sergei Eisenstein. Rather like I do, he got distracted, and ended up having a look at the nature of memory, the pleasure of walking (again, like me, when I race between venues in Glasgow) and landscape. 

I especially wanted to see that because Cousins has a critic's soul - he can make as many films as he likes but, like me and my plays, they come from a critic's perspective. And art made by critics is the future. I sent the memo last week.

The Sunday has Live Art Supergroup (as said by me in The Skinny and quoted on their website) Fish and Game giving punters a Backstage Pass. F&G do these special - well, they are sort of guided tours, sort of cinematic performance... you get an iPad and follow the path around and under the stages and corridors of macrobert to encounter the people and moments that bring it to life. I've seen earlier versions of this iPad performance, and they are mildly psychedelic, spectral and sometimes sinister. (2pm – 5pm run time 20 minutes, start every 15 minutes)

Cousins' film selection is equally intriguing. No surprise at first: The Story of Film: An Odyssey (1.30pm). It used to be fifteen hours long, but this is the remix - just over an hour. I think of it as being like a curated YouTube (without the trolls, who will be busy at Gareth Nicholl's piece on the Saturday) and the inane home videos. It uses over a thousand archive clips to piece together a history from the old silents to the contemporary digital movie.

It's followed by Hyenas. I haven't seen it, but this is the description on the press release. 

Djibril Diop Mambety / Senegal 1992 / 110min / TBC

A young woman is jilted by her lover.  She leaves home, becomes as rich as the world bank and then returns to the African village where she grew up half made of gold.  Yes, half made of gold.  Her old friends are amazed to see her.  They ask for consumer goods, refrigerators, etc...
She agrees, but on one shocking condition.  
Those who think African films are worthy, pleading, primitive things should see this amazing, angry parable, the sort of film that changes your sense of what movies are.

Not sure I can add to that...

But then, at six, it's the film that inspired the band. Holy Mountain is, as the press release admits, "the greatest acid trip movie." Quite why this is aimed at young people, I cannot explain. It has a naked man, who is a bit like Jesus, shit turning to gold, weird creatures, a huge mountain and a crazy landscape. On the one hand, it needs a clear critical eye to appreciate the alchemical depth of meaning, and the unique Mexican blend of religious and shamanic imagery.

On the other, it is riot of mayhem - it's surprising that the mind behind the ideas could keep it together to actually make a film from it. 

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