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Seeing FIFA 2010: Sand In The Desert

Posted by Jasia / March 23, 2010

This year marks the 28th installment of the International Festival of Films on Art, and it doesn't seem to be going away or getting smaller. With over two hundred films from twenty three counties, my main problem is what to see.

Trying to keep things reasonable, I started off this weekend by seeing my two top picks: Tadao Ando: Koshino House and Offre Moi Ton Corps . One turned out to be and unappealing one-liner, while the other was a beautifully organized exploration of its' subject. Which is pretty much how I like my film festivals, full of surprises, both for better and for worse.


The main impression director Rax Rinnekangas's Tadao Ando: Koshino House left on me was 'hey did these guys make this on their laptop on their lunch break?', which still doesn't explain the extended amount of time given over to a very limited collection of still images. Yes, Chris Marker can pull this off, but somehow when the film is about a specific piece of architecture I really want to see the building, not just three angles and one detail of a wall. There were a couple promising moments when it looked like the film was about to take a tangent into something bizarre and science-fiction, but even this angle was also not properly developed.

Luckily, I should also mention, that many of the shorter screenings at FIFA show multiples films, and Tadao Ando: Koshino House was accompanied by two much more interesting short features. La Table Compas by Danielle Schirman was like the history channel on hallucinogens, bouncing playfully between historical fact and artistic contemplation. CCTV: Pékin directed by Horst Brandenburg was a fun though completely straight and impartial look at one of the many cutting edge architectural projects happening China.

On an even higher note, Offre Moi Ton Corps, directed by Bernar Hébert
and Renée Claude Riendeau, left me pretty breathless. Possibly in large part because the film ended with some intense footage of German artist Walter Schels explaining his need to photograph the just born and the newly dead, this film blew my mind at least a couple of times in the hour and a half it ran.

There are a couple a moments were the films was a bit pushy, and instead of an up-front presentation of photographers working with the body, there is a narrator who jumps in all the time telling you what to think of it all. In spite of this, contemporary artists making very powerful work are presented in a very accessible and straightforward manner. Specifically, Elinor Carucci's photographs of her body after pregnancy, Jeff Bark's exploration of bodies that are generally deemed imperfect, Elena Dorffman's documentation of 'real doll' collectors with their collections and of course Walter Schels' practice are such interesting examples of the figure in contemporary photography that any other less than perfect moments in the film are easily forgotten.

FIFA is far from over friends! So there is still time to see a very small percentage of the overwhelming selection of films presented. Personally, I would still like to get to Big Alma, one installment of Seven Intellectuals in a Bamboo Forest, Quelques Pas a Paris and hopefully one of the series of short films such as Infiltrations 2. If you have your heart set on seeing a specific screening, I would recommend getting tickets sooner rather than later as so far all of the screenings have been packed. While this is a good thing for the film festival, if you're not organized it could seriously hurt your chances of seeing that obscure and wonderful film that is only showing once.

Images courtesy of FIFA.



Mrs G. / March 23, 2010 at 10:47 pm
I would really want to go see Big Alma! But I guess I'm so broke I can't afford 10$ for a movie, terrible

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Musstanser Tinauli is a PhD candidate in Industrial Design and Multimedia Communication at the Politecnico di Milano, Italy.
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