Festival du Nouveau Cinema is a showcase of all types of cinema. They show everything from animated features to showcases of multiple experimental films like the ones we saw last Tuesday.
I think that the description for “Expérimentations” is spot on. The films certainly pushed the limits of my perception in an almost trance-like way. I might have added that the whole experience is a visual trip.
I would say that overall I enjoyed “Expérimentations”. I was captivated with a lot of the films but was a little bummed out that To The Wolf Of Madragoa didn’t play in its entirety. The only film I didn’t like was Workers Leaving the Job Site. The silence was unnerving and it seemed to drag on too long.
I do think that it was well curated, except for Workers Leaving the Job Site. It just seemed out of place in my opinion.
The one film that I remember the most was Masahiro Tsutani’s 2012 film Between Regularity and Irregularity. It stuck with me mainly because I was completely overwhelmed watching it and it was bordering on unpleasant. The film before it was long and pleasant and then Masahiro’s film came on and it felt like 1,000 volts running through my body. I almost wanted to look away but couldn’t because I knew I would probably never see this again and had to cherish it. The film was very modern, very digital and technical. I wasn’t quite sure what I was seeing at the time. I read the synopsis when I got home and the film was trying the emulate the firing of nerve cells. I loved the way he paired the sound with the sharp cuts. Every time the image cut it was like a punch. I felt like I was getting beaten up. After the first couple of minutes I was thinking to myself that a break from all this convulsion would be nice and then the smoke scenes started. It was perfect timing. I would love to see some other work by this film maker. Overall Between Regularity and Irregularity was the most memorable film for me.
Reel Injun is a critically acclaimed Documentary directed by Neil Diamond. It was released in 2011 and won three Gemini awards.
Reel Injun is directed from Neil’s point of view. His view being that for the most part Native American people or Indians have not been properly recognised in American film. He gets his point across primarily by showing archival footage and interviewing various actors and Native people. This film really opened my eyes to the misrepresentation of Natives in cinema. Two extremes of Native representation shown in the documentary would be the 1939 film Stagecoach directed by John Ford and the 2001 film Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner which was written, directed and acted completely in Inuktitut. Stagecoach is a classic western film starring John Wayne and Claire Trevor. It is the type of western that glorifies the cowboy and portrays the natives as savages. At one point Reel Injun shows some footage of John Wayne smashing a dead Indian in the head with a rock and then shooting the corpse. I’m sure if I was immersed in the film and oblivious to the connotations of the scene I wouldn’t have batted an eye, but Reel Injun puts that scene and many like it into perspective. Stagecoach was after all made by and made for middle America of the 1930’s. Mostly every film in that era was marketed towards white people, so it was common to have the white cowboy hero slaying ”savages”. It was also a very politically incorrect time and unfortunately I don’t think John Ford had any incentive to portray Native Americans properly. Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner has a much different depiction of Native Americans. The Fast Runner is a film written and acted in the Inuit language Inuktitut. In Reel Injun, native director Chris Eyre praises its authenticity and says it’s the most Native film ever made. Based on the footage shown in the film, The Fast Runner almost looks like a documentary for National Geographic.
Overall I believe that Neil Diamond’s goal was to bring Native awareness up and break the stereotypical view of Natives brought on by Hollywood. He certainly enlightened me to these issues but Hollywood is another story. In the recent film The Lone Ranger, Johnny Depp plays a very typically Hollywood Indian, so it looks like nothing has really changed. On a good note Canadian cinema seems to really understand Neil’s point of view and if films like Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner continue to be made maybe the point will get across to Hollywood.