Friday, January 5, 2018

Short Notes #1: Respiratory Patterns

I was invited by my (erstwhile) Professor in Sarajevo, the great, very driven Tanja Vrvilo to Film Mutations, the film festival she organises twice - sometimes thrice an year in Zagreb. This year's programme was founded on an abstraction: Violence + Utopia - and included work by Abel Ferrara, Bela Tarr, Marc Hurtado, Masai Adachi among others. I watched Hurtado's Aurore and I am reasonably certain I will not watch a better, more moving film this year.

Tanja requested I help with short notes and literature for the festival website.

Aurore (1989) / Marc Hurtado

In relation to his work, Hutton mentions, ‘the absence of thought’ as one of his principle artistic goals. As an introduction to his own films, Hurtado emphasizes, ‘…the flesh is the spirit’. In both, the interior is denied an existence in and of itself: it will be deposited instead, in visible, tangible, exterior objects. In Hutton: the chimneys, the bow of a ship, a water sprinkler, but also, the waves of an ocean, patterns of clouds, or crops that sway in the breeze; in Hurtado: stray twigs, fields of flowers, soil, sky and the source of all life, the sun. In both, these objects will mutate under the gaze of their seers: they will lose meaning; they will no longer be signifiers or symbols of anything at all. These will be reduced (or simplified) to two-dimensional objects useful for nothing else but different material qualities: geometry, colour, shape, contours, texture. Hutton will accomplish this transfiguration through single, sustained focus (an uninterrupted, religious act of just looking), while in Hurtado, a combination of diverse distractions will yield a concentration. Another crucial difference: Hutton will hold his breath to the point of death (a black screen); Hurtado will continuously grasp for air.