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The Compiler Screenings 2018

The Compiler Screenings 2018

[…] Where hesitation and critical interrogation are not simply conveyed by the images but haunt the images themselves is in Camilo Restrepo’s jewel «La impresión de una guerra» (2015). Working on the Columbian internal conflict of the last 70 years, Restrepo reflects on the printed and filmed (and tattooed) images of the discord.

[…] The event at the Stadtkino Basel brilliantly confirms the importance of putting films in the collective arena of discussion, and the decisive plus-value of a strong curatorial selection that makes us discover, among other things, the effectiveness of the short film as an autonomous form.

The theme of White Frame’s “Compiler Screenings 2018” at the Stadtkino Basel is “convictions”, but through the eight films selected by Chantal Molleur (White Frame) and Bruno Quiblier (Base-Court), we realise that doubts and open interrogations largely prevail. Filmmaking is (also) an exercise in criticism, as in the refined and amusing Santa, the Fascist Years by Bill Plympton (2008) – a delirious Disney-like story on rewriting history, or creating fake-news, through the genre of old TV animated news – or an exercise in self-criticism, as in the apparently clueless L’ambassadeur & moi by Jan Czarlewski (2011), which is completely re-valued through an unexpected final scene, where the power asymmetry between the camera and the character is reversed, thereby opening a new perspective on the entire film project.

Open interrogation can take the subtler form of hesitation. It is the topic of Mahdi Fleifel’s I Signed the Petition (2018), where a telephone exchange on the opportunity of cultural boycott of Israel is the occasion to focus on the powerlessness and political determinism that affect Palestinians. More than the rationalist line of thought of the voice-overs, the most intriguing aspect of this film is the apparently disconnected dialogue between sound and image – this last layer showing an anonymous apartment and its banal surroundings without people. If the images initially appear to work as a dialectic counterpoint to the political themes in the spoken words, we soon feel how the vertiginous silences after the bitter laughs at the hopeless political situation find a corresponding echo in the desolate comfort and order of the daily-life landscape of the images.

Where hesitation and critical interrogation are not simply conveyed by the images but haunt the images themselves is in Camilo Restrepo’s jewel La impresión de una guerra (2015). Working on the Columbian internal conflict of the last 70 years, Restrepo reflects on the printed and filmed (and tattooed) images of the discord. In his research, which also delivers interesting information and documents some individual stories, every single shot expresses a precise self-interrogation on the status and meaning of the image of the war: images of violence as both souvenir and trophy, images that are violent for their having been manipulated, images that stimulate the need to represent violence, images as instruments of the territorialisation of violence. The incredible maturity of this film-essay depends especially on the fact that it approaches the theme of the war in a completely film specific way. Here, form and content perfectly align.

The final exchange with the two curators of the programme has provided further information and ideas. The event at the Stadtkino Basel brilliantly confirms the importance of putting films in the collective arena of discussion, and the decisive plus-value of a strong curatorial selection that makes us discover, among other things, the effectiveness of the short film as an autonomous form.

 

First published: December 14, 2018

The Compiler Screenings 2018 | Shorts | White Frame (Chantal Molleur), Base-Court (Bruno Quiblier) | Stadtkino Basel | 12/12/2018

I Signed the Petition | Short | Mahdi Fleifel | UK-CH 2018 | 10’

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La impresión de una guerra | Short | Camilo Restrepo | COL-FR 2015 | 26’

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More Info on the whole Programme 

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