Saturday, March 7, 2009

Memories of a Certain Time: Tate Film Program (2009)

Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster's film, Atomic Park (Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, France 2004, 9 min). Also shown are La Jetée (Chris Marker, UK 1962, 28 min) Spiral Jetty (Robert Smithson, UK 1970, 32 min) Toute la mémoire du monde (Alain Resnais, France 1956, 20 min) (Toute la Mémoire du Monde (All the World's Memory) (Part One) (Part Two) is a short documentary by director Alain Resnais about the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. With its long tracking shots through cavernous library hallways, it imagines the Bibliothèque Nationale as a forbiddingly inhuman landscape in which man attempts to imprison "knowledge" in an effort to counter the limits of his own memory. Only in the act of individual selection -- a single patron choosing a specific text -- is there hope that this undifferentiated mass of knowledge can be redeemed, as the reader makes discriminating use of the collective national memory for the fulfillment of a constructive individual purpose). From BA to Rio, Paris to Kyoto, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster moves through eleven of the world’s most famous cities to create short portraits of urbanism. Filmed in public places like parks, beaches and even deserts, Parc Central (Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, France 2006, 50 min), takes the viewer on a visual, auditory and poetic journey through urban spaces. Both films at this screening use monologues as their central device, where the actors' thoughts are voiced over the film and not spoken. Gonzalez-Foerster's melancholy Central (Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, France 2001, 10 min) follows a girl waiting at a ferry terminal in Hong Kong, and Georges Perec and Bernard Queysanne's Un homme qui dort (Georges Perec and Bernard Queysanne, France 1974, 93 min), set in Paris, is a classic about a young man who retreats into himself. In Gonzalez-Foerster's Riyo (Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, France 1999, 10 min), a teenage girl calls a boy from the riverside in Kyoto. But as the conversation goes on, our focus shifts from the pair to the cityscape around them. Two lovers are also separated in Zhang Ke Jia's Still Life (Zhang Ke, China/Hong King 2006, 111 min), and the film uses their story to reflect on the changes a new dam has wrought on the Yangtze river.

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