In this online event we presented Leandro Listorti’s The Endless Film (La película infinita), originally scheduled for the 2020 Essay Film Festival. Following the film, there was an online Q+A between Leandro Listorti and researcher Nicholas Freeman.
The Endless Film is an expansive multi-layered compilation film assembled in the archives of the Buenos Aires film museum where the filmmaker is employed. This cinematic experiment retrieves fragments of films that were unfinished or lost, investing new life into objects considered incomplete and invisible, were it not for their reappearance in this new artistic context. The film acts as a valuable film-historical document, showcasing the various thematic and aesthetic currents that Argentinian filmmakers have engaged with from the 1950s to celebrated directors of the so-called ‘New Argentine Cinema’. Archives, memories, traces and remains, these are of fundamental importance for understanding the past, present and future of a country whose records have been routinely buried, burnt and destroyed. In this way, The Endless Film offers a window to forgotten memories, and the work becomes an elegy for the ghosts of Argentina’s dictatorial past. At the same time, the film offers an insight into the materiality of filmmaking, subtly drawing our attention to aspects of production processes such as countdown timers and pen-marked film strips, while the soundtrack makes use of extracts of dialogue and other extraneous audible elements that emerge from behind the camera on a film set. The use of damaged film footage (tramlines, scratches, faded colours, etc.) incorporates new physical elements into the texture of Listorti’s ‘endless film’.
16mm Screening of the recently released debut film by Cauleen Smith
Film: Drylongso Cauleen Smith, 1998, 87 min, 16mm
Seeing Cauleen Smith‘s debut feature (and only full length fiction film to date) today offers audiences a snapshot into both a community and a specific moment in time. Set in Oakland, California, the film centres around a young African American woman navigating her responsibilities as a breadwinner, daughter and student whilst coming to terms with the threat of violence befalling young men in her community. The film captures real social issues being faced by the working class African American community and the vibrant Afrocentric art scene whilst, through the central character Pica, Drylongso can be seen as a nuanced coming of age tale. The recent restoration has allowed the film to find a new audience and in doing so can now be seen to connect to both the celebrated 90’s independent cinema boom alongside the iconic works of African American cinema made in this period.
The Essay Film Festival: Research, Critique, Practice
A call for proposals for a student-led symposium reflecting on EFF 2020
As part of its new collaborative partnership with CHASE, the Essay Film Festival is inviting proposals from doctoral students for a student-led symposium exploring essayistic forms and their relationship to academic research, social critique and artistic practice.