Friday, November 29, 2013

differently, Molussia (2012)

WHO: Forty-year old French filmmaker Nicolas Rey made this. He is not to be confused with the long-deceased director of They Live By Night and Rebel Without A Cause, Nick Ray.

WHAT: I haven't seen differently, Molussia yet, and in all likelihood neither has anyone else- at least not the precise version that's being screened tonight. There are actually 362, 880 possible versions of this film, an adaptation of a 1931 unpublished novel by Günther Anders, that has never been translated into a language that Rey understands. As Michael Sicinski writes in his Cinemascope piece on it:
The 80-minute feature is comprised of nine individual reels of varying lengths, and Nicolas Rey has designed the film so that their order of presentation should be randomly assigned. (Each reel is designated by a differently coloured title card: a pink reel, a green reel, a canary reel, etc.) That is, Rey has built the film from modules, each thematically linked to the others while retaining semi-autonomy with respect to order, narrative, and spatial orientation. They must all appear once, but can appear in any sequence.
WHERE/WHEN: 7:30 tonight only at Yerba Buena Center For the Arts.

WHY: Following Tuesday's Black Hole Cinematheque screening, tonight is another showcase by a filmmaker heavily involved in the artist-run film lab movement. Rey will be on hand tonight and has fascinating, informed perspectives on the state of the film medium in an age of digital convenience. I'll excerpt a pair of remarks from an interview conducted by Darren Hughes:
It’s very important to me to prove that you can still make films on film. There’s something very important about this. What’s at stake is organizing the possibility to continue producing on that medium. And showing films on that medium for people to curate. I’m surprised there’s not more questioning about that. Everyone has thrown up their hands and said, “It’s over. It’s over.”
But even on the curating side it’s getting difficult. I’m amazed that cinematheques are willing to show films on digital formats, presented as “preservation.” They’ve abandoned showing the work in its original format. There was a big conference at the French Cinematheque and I didn’t hear them say, “We’ll show the films on film as long as we can. We’ll fight for that.” Not at all. Only the film museum in Vienna has made a strong stand on the matter.
I think anyone invested in the idea of watching films on film should be interested in hearing what Rey has to say to a San Francisco audience. I'll definitely be there tonight (although I rue the fact that I have to miss an opportunity to see an imported 35mm print of Stanley Kwan's Center Stage at the Pacific Film Archive to make it).

HOW: 16mm projection of what will almost certainly be a unique permutation of the film.

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