Wednesday, 19 December
The White Dove + Aurelia Steiner (Melbourne)
THE WHITE DOVE 1960
Directed by František Vláčil
In Czechoslovakian with English subtitles
Somewhere in the countryside of Belgium, a homing pigeon is sent off for the Baltic coast. But along the route, the bird hits a storm and gets lost, ending up flying over Czechoslovakia. In western Prague, the dove is wounded and slowly brought back to life by an artist and a young boy in a wheelchair called Michal. This is a highly poetic film, creating a kind of sublime link between very different worlds (bird's-eye views, a child's gaze, the eye of an artist, the longing of a young girl on the Baltic coast).
Every scene of The White Dove is nailed with lyricism, and every image screams with beauty. As you watch each sequence unfold, there are always two parallel levels operating simultaneously... the symbolic and the narrative. During the film you can freely drift between the two realms according to your desire. If you want, you can even leave the entire story behind and float with the imagery alone, since the entire flick is such a pure visual rapture. It's one of the few films I can think of that is so constantly breathtakingly beautiful it's almost exhausting. It was shot at the end of the 1950s in Czechoslovakia, which makes it one of the founding inspirations of the Czech New Wave cinema that began several years later. The unwieldy music music score is by Zdenek Liska (The Cremator), and the dazzling cinematography is by Jan Curík with, Miroslav Ondrícek as assistant.
This flick is the vision of František Vláčil (Marketa Lazarova), a director little-known outside his home country, and this was his debut feature. The entire structure is so deeply surreal and poetic, it collapses into experimental cinema, but a humanist one. It's packed with spellbinding images, so rich and wonderfully crafted they make anything in movie theatres today seem dim-witted, dull and unimaginative.
+ Short film:f3693e13-6af5-42b5-9073-c69246811c12.jpg
Aurélia Steiner (Melbourne) 1979
Directed by Marguerite Duras
In French with English subtitles
One of the most haunting films ever made. The image is one long journey along the Seine in Paris. These images are accompanied by the voice of Marguerite Duras as she reads a letter to a loved one. The text speaks of war, of death, of starvation, of concentration camps... a personal history. Among other things, it speaks of parallel words that occur simultaneously, and our ability to cross barriers through intimacy.
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