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Festival du Nouveau Cinéma: Fantastic Voyages @ the SAT

Posted by Sisi / October 18, 2007

Photo: View of Grégory Chatonsky's Cinema@Home, courtesy of FNC staff

The Future of Cinema: Fantastic Voyages, 11 October to 20 October 2007 at the SAT (1201 Saint-Laurent Blvd.); presented as part of the 36th Festival du Nouveau Cinéma

Last Friday, I was in a black room with padded walls listening to the intermittent sounds of a man and a woman hissing fragmented sentences out of the dark. Blind and disoriented, thoughts of amniotic sacs, mental hospitals, and Edgar Allan Poe’s Telltale Heart raced through my head. Needless to say, I was really fucking scared.

That was Lorella Abenavoli and Nicolas Reeves’ Nox Mater, one of the many installations currently on display at the Société des Arts Technologiques.

Produced in conjunction with the 36th Festival du Nouveau Cinéma, the idea is to showcase the potential of future cinema through a series of innovative media pieces. Besides Nox Mater, other notables include Hendrick Dusollier’s Face and Theodore Ushev's award-winning Tower Bawher.

In Face, visitors are invited to sit down and peer through a stereoscopic black box to watch a man being electrified, impaled, pulled apart, distorted, and incinerated. Throw in a pair of headphones and the experience becomes truly harrowing, forcing the viewer to internalize the protagonist’s pain and claustrophobia. The kicker is, the whole thing is computer-animated.

I freely admit that I’m a sucker for 3D films. When Nightmare Before Christmas came out in 3D a few years ago, I rushed out to see it but was disappointed by the marginal improvement on the original. Tower Bawher, however, was visually and aurally stunning. Reminiscent of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and the Constructivist art movement, abstracted towers, wheels, and cogs jutted through the screen. The judicious use of music made the production nothing short of amazing.

That being said, it was really hard to pick favorites. If this is the next wave of filmmakers, then I’m on it like a fat kid on trans fats.

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