The Grand Bizarre

The Grand Bizarre uses time lapse footage and stop-gap animation of various brightly coloured, patterned fabrics in locations around the world. The effect is nearly a full hour of constant strobing, which actually began to make me sick. From a nearly sold-out start, there was a continuous string of walkouts as people realised that yes, this was it. Pretty impressive considering the film was only an hour long. I stayed to the end just see how many folk would be left. Unwatchable bilge.

Erased,____Ascent of the Invisible

Erased,____Ascent of the Invisible is as much activist art as it is a documentary. It examines the legacy of the disappeared during the Lebanese Civil War (a part of history I am woefully ignorant about).

It looks at how the photographs used to find the missing became part of a conglomerate whole, and the search for answers to their individual murders disappeared into a symbol of the unsolvable injustice of war. Instead of identifying them, it anonymised them.

17,000 people went missing during the war according to activists, but the government only admits to 2000. Those who are politically expedient to find are found. Those killed by the Israeli army were quickly found. Citizens of European countries whose governments could bring pressure to bear were next. As the Syrian regime waned in power, those killed by them have been unearthed. But for those killed by Lebanese forces, some of whose leaders still retain power to this day, they are mysteriously difficult, if not impossible, to find.

In another example of art being used to obscure rather than uncover the truth, a memorial is installed over a mass grave, a crime site. Concrete with frescos depicting dancing dolphins. A memorial to martyrs of the war ensure no one can dig or excavate the bones of those that lie there unidentified.

The irony comes at the end from bureaucracy. It cannot be admitted that the disappeared are dead. That they were abducted, tortured and murdered. So their family registers still contain their names. 35 years after their disappearances, they are the surviving members of wiped out families. And in the necessity of denial of the crime, the victims are made immortal in the bureaucratic machinery that has no mechanism to let them die.

No Home Movie

Just saw No Home Movie which I loved!

It a narrative-less peephole view of the director’s mother and their relationship. It radiated love.

As anyone who knows me will know, despite my pretensions, I actually get bored during long shots of “nothing happening”; after thinking, “Yes, pretty”, I think about where I’m itchy, how full my bladder is, what I’m going to eat after the film. By all rights I shouldn’t have liked this movie, which features almost ten-minute long landscape shots of a car journey through Oklahoma or the sun on her mother’s rug in her Brussels flat. But I fell in love with her mother.

This movie is about how we love, what our love is composed of. I loved her mother, not because of huge dramatic plot-points, but because I loved the sound of her shuffling feet on the floor, the small hums and gasps her mother made to herself pottering about the flat alone, her multiple abortive attempts to finish phone conversations. I saw her mother just as she was, imbued with the love the director had for her, and it was beautiful.