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March 28th – April 2nd, 2017 / Cinema Muzeul Țăranului & Cinema Elvire Popesco / the 7th edition

Searching for Transcendence

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International Competition - Searching for Transcendence

 
Curatorial presentation by Andrei Tănăsescu
All throughout mankind’s evolutionary leaps, the restless search for meaning stays at the core of human condition. Our soul strives to experience what lies beyond the veil, to come face to face with that which exists outside of our Cartesian reality. BIEFF’s International Competition program titled Searching for Transcendence: Spirituality in the Digital Age curates six films which exist into that liminal realm which connects us to the metaphysical. On the elusive border between the real and the virtual, the films selected bring the viewer to the threshold of transcendence, via recollected (or immediate) experiences.

A computer animated rendition of a South Korean soldier’s patrol along the country’ demilitarized border (DMZ) with North Korea, 489 Years, by Hayoun Kwon, deals with the (im)possibility of representing and experiencing the liminal space of borders - as limits dividing more than simple geographies. Employing a gamer’s FPS (first-person-shooter) perspective, with photo-realistic accuracy of CGI and the vivid imagery of storytelling, the narrator walks us through his routine path along the DMZ under the cloak of darkness and growing tension at the unseen enemy. Until a moment of terror strikes him still, becoming an instant of serendipity and wonder, of experiencing beauty in the least likely of places.

Drawing on Albert Camus’ eponymous text, Luiza Pârvu and Toma Peiu’s Sisyphus 2.0 is a visual compendium of humanity’s search for meaning. Made of real surveillance footage, the film assumes its perspective’s omniscience, beginning as a series of quotidian assemblages of a-day-in-a-life of the global citizens, embraced by a voice-over retelling of the Sisyphus myth. With deep humanism and sensibility, Pârvu and Peiu question the meaning of the search, as man-made violence and natural cataclysms - the other side of humanity’s essential creative impulse - jolt the daily existence of the surveilled humans. In the end, faith overcomes fatalism, the search becomes the meaning itself, and the film’s closing, noble gesture, cradles us to the lullaby of hope.

What lies between that euphoric before-and-after of the collective ritual of the dancefloor ‘drop’? Anne de Vries looks for the answer, in a high-octane visual and cerebral assault that brings academia to the dancefloor in an exquisitely fitting pairing of Deleuzian theory and hard-trance. Using CGI and cut-up footage of the lavish spectacle that are electronic dance music (EDM) festivals, De Vries overlaps disembodied (organic and artificial) narrations reciting dictums inspired from Gilles Deleuze’s work. Preaching for the recognition of the amorphous unification of crowds as a collective experience of the sublime, Critical Mass: Pure Immanence becomes a rallying call for dancefloor transcendence, a Deleuzian take on rave-culture’s P.L.U.R. mantra (Peace, Love, Unity, Respect).

If It Was is a lo-fi intervention of Laure Prouvost’s playful and childlike subconscious into the museum space, reimagined here as a landscape for the visitor to give in to his/her impulses and desires. This democratization is rendered through Prouvost’s usual montage of free-association and haptic visuals, where inventiveness and mischievousness smooth out architectural corners, bring zumba lessons in the museum and touching is encouraged (kiss if you please!). The further we go down the rabbit-hole at the whispered nudging of the narrator, the faster associations build up, spiralling into a focal point of sublime. This deceivingly simple whirlwind of art-naif takes us to the backstage of artistic creation, giving enough rope to cerebrally and sensorially play with, until it pulls us toward the light of transcendence.

Subtle and assured, Konstantina Kotzamani’s award-winning Limbo is a meditative fable of Biblical resonance that operates at the outer fringes of reality. It introduces us to the shared camaraderie of a group of twelve young boys living among a floating marsh-land village, their daily wanderings and playfighting. Raised under the observant eye of religion and unseen adults, the kids’ blossoming imagination grows wilder with the arrival of a mysterious young boy and rumours of a beached whale. Fueled by the bayou’s pregnant atmosphere of superstition, they devise a plan to sacrifice the newcomer as their offering to the mammalian deity. What they witness instead will carry them past the threshold of adolescence, the universe and reality as they know it, giving them a glimpse into the divine.

Welcome to Jorge Jácome’s Fiesta Forever, a virtual moon-lit stroll through the post-clubbing landscape haunted by the spectral memories of nightlife experiences. Visiting the computer-generated ruined terrain of four clubs, we move freely within their walls, bathed in their abandoned tranquility. These walls can talk, reminiscing about  declarations of love, furtive glances and fleeting emotions, pick-up strategies and fateful meetings between soulmates. This sacred ground of the party becomes both a space of solitary refuge and of social gathering and human connection, marked by the experience of its past inhabitants. What we bring, leave behind or take away, as viewers, is entirely up to us. Because by the time the sun comes up, all that remains of it is but a fleeting memory, floating in the realm of humanity’s search for bliss.

Directed by: 
HAYOUN KWON
A computer animated rendition of a South Korean soldier’s patrol along the country’s demilitarized border (DMZ) with North Korea, 489 Years, by Hayoun Kwon, deals with the (im)possibility of representing and experiencing the liminal space of borders - as limits dividing more than simple geographies. Employing a gamer’s FPS (first-person-shooter) perspective, with photo-realistic accuracy of CGI and the vivid imagery of storytelling, the narrator walks us through his routine path along the DMZ under the cloak of darkness and growing tension at the unseen enemy. Until a moment of terror strikes him still, becoming an instant of serendipity and wonder, of experiencing beauty in the least likely of places. (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF 2017)
Directed by: 
LUIZA PÂRVU & TOMA PEIU
Drawing on Albert Camus’ eponymous text, Luiza Pârvu and Toma Peiu’s Sisyphus 2.0 is a visual compendium of humanity’s search for meaning. Made of real surveillance footage, the film assumes its perspective’s omniscience, beginning as a series of quotidian assemblages of ‘a day in a life’ of the global citizens, embraced by a voice-over retelling of the Sisyphus myth. With deep humanism and sensibility, Pârvu and Peiu question the meaning of the search, as man-made violence and natural cataclysms - the other side of humanity’s essential creative impulse - jolt the daily existence of the surveilled humans. In the end, faith overcomes fatalism, the search becomes the meaning itself, and the film’s closing, noble gesture, cradles us to the lullaby of hope. (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF 2017)
Directed by: 
ANNE DE VRIES
What lies between that euphoric before-and-after of the collective ritual of the dance floor drop? Anne de Vries looks for the answer, in a high-octane visual and cerebral assault that brings academia to the dancefloor in an exquisitely fitting pairing of Deleuzian theory and hard-trance. Using CGI and cut-up footage of the lavish spectacle that are electronic dance music (EDM) festivals, Anne de Vries overlaps disembodied (organic and artificial) narrations reciting dictums inspired from Gilles Deleuze’s work. Preaching for the recognition of the amorphous unification of crowds as a collective experience of the sublime, Critical Mass: Pure Immanence becomes a rallying call for dancefloor transcendence, a Deleuzian take on rave-culture’s mantra of Peace, Love, Unity, Respect (P.L.U.R.). (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF 2017)
Directed by: 
LAURE PROUVOST
If It Was is a lo-fi intervention of Laure Prouvost’s playful and childlike subconscious into the museum space, reimagined here as a landscape for the visitor to give in to his/her impulses and desires. This democratization is rendered through Prouvost’s usual montage of free-association and haptic visuals, where inventiveness and mischievousness smooth out architectural corners, bring zumba lessons in the museum and touching is encouraged (kiss if you please!). The further we go down the rabbit-hole at the whispered nudging of the narrator, the faster associations build up, spiralling into a focal point of sublime. This deceivingly simple whirlwind of art-naif takes us to the backstage of artistic creation, giving enough rope to cerebrally and sensorially play with, until it pulls us toward the light of transcendence. (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF 2017)
Directed by: 
KONSTANTINA KOTZAMANI
Subtle and assured, Konstantina Kotzamani’s award-winning Limbo is a meditative fable of Biblical resonance that operates at the outer fringes of reality. It introduces us to the shared camaraderie of a group of twelve young boys living among a floating marsh-land village, their daily wanderings and playfighting. Raised under the observant eye of religion and unseen adults, the kids’ blossoming imagination grows wilder with the arrival of a mysterious young boy and rumours of a beached whale. Fueled by the bayou’s pregnant atmosphere of superstition, they devise a plan to sacrifice the newcomer as their offering to the mammalian deity. What they witness instead will carry them past the threshold of adolescence, the universe and reality as they know it, giving them a glimpse into the divine. (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF 2017)
Directed by: 
JORGE JÁCOME
Welcome to Jorge Jácome’s Fiesta Forever, a virtual moon-lit stroll through the post-clubbing landscape haunted by spectral memories of nightlife experiences. Visiting the computer-generated ruined terrain of four clubs, we move freely within their walls, bathed in their abandoned tranquility. These walls can talk, reminiscing about declarations of love, furtive glances and fleeting emotions, pick-up strategies and fateful meetings between soulmates. This sacred ground of the party becomes both a space of solitary refuge and of social gathering and human connection, marked by the experience of its past inhabitants. What we bring, leave behind or take away, as viewers, is entirely up to us. Because by the time the sun comes up, all that remains of it is but a fleeting memory, floating in the realm of humanity’s search for bliss. (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF 2017)