Les Soviets Plus L’électricité is a dazzling and thought-provoking journey, spanning Russia to Magaden in Siberia, a legendary and remote city, barely tangible, tending to dwell in the corners of the mind rather than in reality. Based on excepts from his auditory diary, documentary footage and insights gleaned along the way, filmmaker Nicholas REY goes in search of the roots of his imaginary Utopia. Nicholas REY invites the viewer to travel to the ends of the earth with him and to experience the same feeling and sensations as he does.
In Too Early, Too Late, STRAUB, HUILLET and their regular sound engineer, the inspired Louis Hochet, lose themselves in the French countryside before they set about wandering along the Nile and within its Delta, in Egypt. Starting off with sounds - all the sounds, from the most infinitesimal to the subtlest - they identify a crime. Scene of the crime: the earth; victims: peasants; witness to the crime: landscapes.
A disillusioned Western filmmaker, accompanied by a half-blind guide, goes on a voyage of discovery. Their journey embraces elements of different cinematic genres - documentary, road movie, experimental and classical narrative - in order to interrogate how we see and show "the real". The images in this film alternate between shaky documentary shots and "painterly" images created through digital effects. The soundtrack is at times untreated, at other times heavily processed in the post-edit. A discourse emerges of the relationship between sound and image.
That's True is one of those films. It is a video work commissioned by a TV station. It had to be a 60 minute long single shot without editing. Robert Frank shot footage of New York streets. The continuity of time and the use of live reporting allow the audience to obtain pleasures from witnessing the "real". Yet, it sometimes rumbles with undercurrents beneath the crust. The boundary between the real and the unreal blurs, and we start to feel uneasy, and want to get out of the scene as soon as possible.
Filmmaker Alan BERLINER is under no illusions like Shakespeare that roses by any other name would smell as sweet. He goes in search of the origins of his own name and examines how it has shaped his identity. With command and intimacy, BERLINER tries to rid himself of the dreaded Same Name Syndrome by inviting all the Alan BERLINERs of the world over to his house for dinner. The result, comprising mostly of those drawn from the middle classes, is a rather stilted affair. The director is not afraid to expose his feelings of guilty dislike for the "imposters".
For esteemed filmmaker Robert KRAMER, Route One, once the most traveled route in the world, is more than just a long stretch of concrete that connects Canada to Key West in Florida. It is a symbol of the decay of the American dream. After years of self-imposed exile in France, Robert KRAMER, the Granddaddy of documentary film, returned to his homeland to shoot this personal statement on America. KRAMER is once again assisted as narrator and chief protagonist in the form of Doc, KRAMER’s fictional alto ego.
Chantel AKERMAN’s travelogue documentary is a valuable record of life in the Soviet Union before it finally succumbed to the gloss of Western imperialism and the commodity culture. Taking her camera across Eastern Europe, the filmmaker simply filmed, in her words, "everything that moved me". The result is an abstract tableau - combining disperate threads of human life. The camera serves as a passive spectator - observing a man sitting on a bench and watching a crowd of people leaving a concert in ebullient spirits.
Displaced Person explores the larger question within the historical field. Stately and sinuous passages from a Beethoven string quartet create a complex argumentation around images and text. This music, both sympathetic and distancing, establishes rhythm and breadth in relation to a radio interview with Claude Levi-Strauss and archival footage obtained from rephotographing Marcel Ophul's The Sorrow and the Pity. These elements wheel through many revolutions of repetitions and combinations, forming multiple perspectives.
A piece of footage found on the street was the impetus for Okay Bye-Bye, this personal meditation on the Cambodian genocide of the late 1970's. Okay Bye-Bye, which takes its title from the phrase shouted by Cambodian children to the U.S. ambassador as he fled Phnom Penh in 1975, combines spoken narrative, found Super-8 footage of an unidentified Cambodian man and other partial images drawn from letters, memoirs and journalistic accounts.
Johan van der KEUKEN, the most esteemed and prolific of documentary filmmakers, has a knack for scratching at the surface of things and showing them as they really are. In this four-hour epic, the filmmaker portrays his hometown of Amsterdam. On this momentous journey, his camera leaves no corner or cranny of the city unproved, gliding effortlessly along the city’s canals, streets and squares.