Bildrausch Filmfest Basel 2024

A selection of short films from the Competitions and the thematic section «Technology, My Love»

In repressive regimes, dreams constitute a sort of last space of freedom. A strange, involuntary freedom, to which Nastia Korkia and Vlad Fishez pay a wonderful tribute by photographing the Russian collective unconscious, sadly occupied and preoccupied by the incumbent President. This search for an interiorisation of public personae is not new – John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Barack Obama have already been the subject of artists’ projects – but Dreams about Putin explores the theme through the clever use of roughness in creating images with the video game tool Unreal Engine. The fragmentary animation perfectly expresses the blurry representation of dream memories and enhances the surrealist, absurd situations described by the witnesses. Something that should be in contrast with the several pieces of archive footage that Korkia and Fishez intersperse in the film, but which is surprisingly not the case: the glorification of the little tzar in pathetic pseudo-heroic setups – flying with storks or spearfishing – seems to be so staged and surreal that we actually experience the astonishing continuity between digital manipulation and staged reality. In this way, the found footage anticipates and pre-empts the collective imagination: is this a saturation of that last space of freedom? Not really, because the digital creations underline the reduction of the powerful patriarch to the status of a miserable puppet (of himself), something that is already working in the found footage. Image manipulation can serve power or make fun of it. The last (manipulated) found images of the President in a court behind bars mark the spirit of Dreams about Putin: a therapeutic and liberating film.

Nastia Korkia, Vlad Fishez | BE-HUN-PT 2023 | 30’ | Berlinale 2024 (Woche der Kritik), Bildrausch Filmfest Basel 2024
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Let’s start from the end of a film that is made of figures – drones, selfie sticks, garbage, graffiti – that meander through it as threads that put the global geography of mass tourism together. The umpteenth «tourists go home» graffiti is now duly deleted, credits are already scrolled, and on the black screen we hear the sound of a spray-paint can ready to take action. The film would be ready to continue indefinitely, as indefinitely massive tourism and its consequences continue to leave their marks on our planet. This precise and keen detail is the best example of how Corina Schwingruber Ilic works, with a maniacal attention to any formal detail of the film. Been There displays a perfect geometry in editing and framing, and makes of the pleasure for geometry the form and the content of this humorous gaze on mass tourism, for the tourists are the first ones childishly playing with geometries in the pictures whose taking pops up in every scene of the film. The tourists are shown as lost in the grandiosity of the landscapes, the relationship to which is reduced to the laborious activity of recording that they have been there. They or, more accurately, each of them separately, because an “anthropological” virtue of the film is its ability to capture the tourists as being a mass of disconnected individuals that do not make a socialisable group. We’ll certainly laugh watching at Been There, with but a bitter smile remaining on our mouth.
Giuseppe Di Salvatore

Corina Schwingruber Ilic | CH 2023 | 10’ | Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur 2023 (Best Film of the Sparks Competition), Solothurner Filmtage 2024, Bildrausch Filmfest Basel 2024
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Nothing is extraordinary – i.e. out of ordinary – in Felipe Casanova’s Loveboard, not the love story and even less so its images and sounds, all taken from a personal iPhone archive, and this is precisely what makes it extraordinary as cinema: using bits of apparent nothingness to create broken wholeness. The relationship failed, and, in a way, the images did too, as the film sets up a narrative in which the phone broke down and is getting repaired, with its data storage comprising of an involuntary, second-nature memory of this tender relationship, being recovered but as glitchy and faulty.
Casanova makes use of certain types of material – text, picture, video and audio – that was used as correspondence or souvenir, mostly through WhatsApp, perpetuating its aura of raw intimacy through complicity, of shared messages: a holiday video used as a postcard, nudes – a two-way medium in itself – love letters, etc. In parallel, observational shots of the slow, technical and meticulous repairing process, emphasizing the instability of digital memory, a matter of microchips, but also - for the film - a matter of care. Having the phone repaired is the last caring gesture of this relationship. It’s an abstract montage-collage that transforms into a beautiful peek-a-boo essay on memory (the magnificent obsession of experimental cinema nowadays), irreversibility, and eventually on the heavy guilt of wrongdoing. In spite of that there’s no sorrow without beauty, and the soft images used by Casanova, with their dialectical aspect of overseen (banal) and forbidden to the public eye (intimate), contain a great, imponderable beauty that’s ever-growing on phone screens.
Călin Boto

Felipe Casanova | CH 2023 | 17’ | Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur 2023, Solothurner Filmtage 2024, Bildrausch Filmfest Basel 2024
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J’avoue, j’ai parfois détourné les yeux. Pas parce que je crains les intelligences artificielles et leurs images parfois déformantes, mais parce que j’ai une phobie liée à tout ce qui touche aux matières qui composent le corps humain. Ils se trouve que les images générées dans 512x512 sont criantes d’humanité de la manière la plus effrayante possible. Sans jamais sacraliser l’IA, Arthur Chopin explore plutôt ses limites et ses biais, qui sont peut-être plus humains que machiniques. L’IA n’est pas ici un monstre terrifiant, mais plutôt un outil qui révèle la monstruosité de l’humanité. Essai précis et cinglant, 512x512 est une excellente porte d’entrée sur les questions liées à cette nouvelle technologie.
Morgane Frund

Arthur Chopin | FR 2024 | 21’ | Visions du Réel Nyon 2024, Bildrausch Filmfest Basel 2024
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Natan Castay's cinema is a wonderful discovery. With En attendans les robots, he enters the hidden reality of our society's digital explosion through a performative gesture: thanks to Otto, his fictional and paradigmatic character, he investigates the world of the “turkers”, a new, silent, digital proletariat. These people, with their small, poorly paid tasks, support the machines and feed an A.I. that will soon make them disappear. The human dimension, and more precisely a kind of class solidarity, guides an admirable work of dramaturgy, which knows how to express a collective awareness to which the film may itself have contributed.
Giuseppe Di Salvatore

Natan Castay | BE 2023 | 39’ | Visions du Réel Nyon 2023, Bildrausch Filmfest Basel 2024
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Récit symbolique et sensuel à la fois, l’essai de Kantarama Gahigiri articule une précise dénonciation de l’exploitation de la terre et des personnes qui y vivent en symbiose, tout en gardant un souffle lyrique dans la forme filmique, laquelle semble ainsi vouloir lui redonner une âme et un espoir.
Giuseppe Di Salvatore

Kantarama Gahigiri | CH-RWA 2023 | 10’ | Berlinale 2023, Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur 2023, Solothurner Filmtage 2024, Bildrausch Filmfest Basel 2024
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Go to Morgane Frund’s interview to Ella Rocca

Ella Rocca | CH 2023 | 13’ | Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur 2024, Solothurner Filmtage 2024, Bildrausch Filmfest Basel 2024
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However, has the image as evidence any power at all? Bill Morrison’s Incident dramatization of police legal footage works as a clear demonstration of the police’s crimes but at the same time as a frustrating demonstration of the powerlessness of the image as evidence. The moving image, even in its official version, is unable to break the power of a repressive State, and thus becomes a useless relic. Giuseppe Di Salvatore

Bill Morrison | USA 2023 | 30’ | Visions du Réel Nyon 2023, Bildrausch Filmfest Basel 2024
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