Sergei Eisenstein’s Mexican Footage / Death Day | Redes | Post Tenebras Lux | Two: A Film Fable | Mon oncle | Otolith III | Dreaming Murakami  | Pitfall | Visual Variations on Noguchi | Bridges-Go-Round | Night Journey | Scandal | Manzanar | The Return

Sergei Eisenstein’s Mexican Footage / Death Day | Redes 

12 April 2019 (Friday), 7:10pm BUY TICKETS

Post-screening discussion with scholar of film and media Natascha Drubek (Freie Universität Berlin) on Eisenstein’s Mexico and the versioning of his project ¡Que viva México!

Sergei Eisenstein’s Mexican Footage
Grigory Alexandrov, Sergei Eisenstein, Edward Tissé │10 min│1931│Mexico│Digital│Silent


Death Day
Grigory Alexandrov, Sergei Eisenstein, Edward Tissé │16 min│1931-1934│USA, Mexico│Digital│No dialogue

  

Upon Charlie Chaplin’s recommendation, Sergei Eisenstein connected with writer Upton Sinclair, who helped establish the means for Eisenstein to embark on a film project in Mexico in late 1930. Accompanied by longtime collaborators Grigory Alexandrov and Edward Tissé, he shot dozens of hours of footage for what he planned as a multi-chapter film titled ¡Que viva México! Funds from the Mexican Film Trust—a production company established by Sinclair, his wife, and other investors—were soon exhausted, and Eisenstein’s chances of finishing the film himself further diminished as his re-entry visa to the United States expired and he was unable to secure an extension to his permission to remain away from the Soviet Union. Much of the footage was brought back to the US by the producers, and Eisenstein never completed his work. This M+ Screenings programme presents excerpts from the original camera rolls of Dance of the Heads and Day of the Dead, shot by Eisenstein and his collaborators in 1931, and Death Day, one of three films derived from the footage and released by American producer Sol Lesser in 1933 and 1934.

Courtesy: Light Cone

Redes
Emilio Gómez Muriel, Fred Zinnemann│65 min│1936│Mexico│DCP│Spanish with English subtitles

Sponsored by the Mexican Secretariat of Public Education as a docu-fiction film about the country’s rural populations, Redes centres on the story of Miro (Silvio Hernández), a poor fisherman who organises a workers’ revolt against capitalist exploitation. Shot on location in Mexico’s Gulf Coast fishing communities and starring non-professional actors, Redes is not only a precursor to post-war neorealist cinema, but also a culmination of the unique talents intersecting around socially minded cinema-making during the early- to mid-1930s. The film marks the debut for its co-directors: Emilio Gómez Muriel, who learned about montage while living through the transition from silent films to talking pictures in the United States, and Fred Zinnemann, the influential Austrian American filmmaker who would go on to direct Hollywood films such as High Noon (1952) and From Here to Eternity (1953). Zinnemann’s realist, observational approach in Redes was heavily influenced by his apprenticeship to documentary filmmaker Robert Flaherty, and it counter-balances the film’s rigorously geometric and rationally compositional cinematography by Paul Strand, an established American modernist photographer.

Courtesy: Films Sans Frontières

Post Tenebras Lux

12 April 2019 (Friday), 9:45pm BUY TICKETS

Post Tenebras Lux
Carlos Reygadas│115 min│2012│Mexico, France, the Netherlands, Germany│DCP│Spanish, English, French with English subtitles

 

Moving from the city to the mountainous countryside of Morelos, Mexico, a family becomes acquainted with life in their new environment while coming to terms with the people, ideas, and places that have been part of their existence. Infused with elements from Carlos Reygadas’s life, Post Tenebras Lux is a dizzyingly impressionistic film that manifests the fears, desires, and fantasies of the contemporary educated class, which has both the privilege of understanding the world in terms of the global and local, the rural and urban, and the personal and universal, as well as the surreal burden of reconciling with its violence, wonders, and contradictions. Shot in the nearly square Academy ratio with distinctly blurring edges and unconventional narrative techniques, the film—for which Carlos Reygadas was named Best Director at the Festival de Cannes—is a visual evocation of reality as felt in its most intimate yet dreamlike conditions.

 

Courtesy: C. Reygadas

 

Post Tenebras Lux has been classified as a Category III film, only viewers who are 18 years old or above will be admitted. Should you wish to receive a refund, please keep the original unused ticket and email m+@mplus.org.hk before the screening begins. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Two: A Film Fable | Mon oncle

13 April 2019 (Saturday), 2:40pm BUY TICKETS

Two: A Film Fable
Satyajit Ray│16 min│1964│India│DCP│No dialogue

 

From the window of his house, a boy from a well-to-do family engages with an urchin in the street outside. This rarely seen gem by Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray was commissioned in 1964 for ESSO World Theater, a television programme funded by the American oil company. Instead of making a film in English, Ray created a work without dialogue, a powerful fable enacted through toys, faces, and music composed by the director himself.

 

Preserved by the Academy Film Archive

 

Mon oncle
Jacques Tati│116 min│1958│France, Italy│DCP│French with English subtitles

 

Villa Arpel, a remarkable feat of architecture and technology designed especially for the Arpel family, efficiently provides all the conveniences of modern life but offers little of interest to its youngest inhabitant, Gérard—until his bumbling uncle arrives for a visit. Jacques Tati’s third feature-length work introduces the eccentric and beloved Monsieur Hulot (played by Tati himself)—a man from a nondescript, rundown part of the old city—into his sister’s suburban universe, one in which glistening surfaces and mechanisms clash loudly with his awkward, all-too-human ways. For all its imaginative whimsy and tenderness, Mon oncle demonstrates Tati at the peak of his powers, a fact made even more evident by the radical aesthetic in his sound editing and mixing.

 

© Les Films de Mon Oncle - Specta Films C.E.P.E.C.

Otolith III | Dreaming Murakami

13 April 2019 (Saturday), 5:15pm BUY TICKETS

Otolith III
The Otolith Group (Kodwo Eshun, Anjalika Sagar) │48 min│2009│United Kingdom│Digital│English

 

In an alternate universe, how would elements from an unrealised film project by Satyajit Ray claim their right to exist? This ‘premake’—what the Otolith Group calls a remake of the film before the original was made—explores the experimental potential of cinematic practice and creative agency through a reimagining of Ray’s The Alien, what would have been the first science fiction film set in contemporary India. Returning to their conception in 1967, the main characters from Ray’s script try to reset the means of production and commandeer the director’s attention in order to exist beyond being ideas on a page. Partially composed of excerpts from fourteen of Ray’s films, the metafiction of Otolith III allows creative thought to become a source of power.

 
Courtesy: The Otolith Group and LUX, London

Dreaming Murakami
Nitesh Anjaan│58 min│2017│Denmark│Digital│Danish, Japanese, English with English subtitles

 

A two-metre-tall frog materialises in Tokyo when Mette Holm begins to translate one of Haruki Murakami’s novels into Danish. As though transforming her reality into the imaginary universe of the celebrated Japanese novelist, the Frog seems to call upon Holm to fight the Worm of Hatred before the latter destroys the world. Nitesh Anjaan’s thoughtful and inspired film follows Holm’s practice as a translator not only of Murakami’s specific and spellbinding language, but also of the worlds encapsulated within the acts of reading and writing. Reaching beyond boundaries defined by linguistics, grammar, literary styles, and even personal upbringing, Dreaming Murakami defines Holm’s translation work as a co-creative practice that extends the realm of individual experience outward into worlds that are imagined, lived, and read in equal measure.


Courtesy: Final Cut for Real

Pitfall

13 April 2019 (Saturday), 7:20pm BUY TICKETS

Pitfall
Hiroshi Teshigahara│97 min│1962│Japan│35mm│Japanese with English subtitles

 

A migrant worker, who looks exactly like the leader of a coal miners’ union, wanders into a desolate mining area and is soon killed by a mysterious man in a clean white suit. Unable to understand the reasons for his death, the man returns to the landscape as a spectre. Later joined by other phantoms as well as by his young son, the man bears witness to the man in white’s cruel, relentless mission, while remaining powerless to stop what is to come. Hiroshi Teshigahara’s first feature, a haunting ‘documentary-fantasy’ about industrial power, human alienation, and revolts against authority, was one of the first films released theatrically by the Art Theatre Guild and it marks the first of four films Teshigahara made in collaboration with modernist writer Abe Kobo.


35mm print courtesy of The Japan Foundation. © 1962 Sougetsu Foundation. All Right Reserved.

Visual Variations on Noguchi | Bridges-Go-Round | Night Journey

14 April 2019 (Sunday), 3:55pm BUY TICKETS

Post-screening discussion with Elysa Wendi (artist and co-founder of Cinemovement) and Alison Friedman (Artistic Director, Performing Arts, West Kowloon Cultural District Authority)

Visual Variations on Noguchi
Marie Menken│4 min│1945│USA│Digital│No dialogue

 

Made when she was looking after Isamu Noguchi’s studio in Greenwich Village, New York, Marie Menken’s first film became one of the most important works to bridge the pre- and post-war avant-garde, and introduced crucial elements of art practice into experimental film. Her handheld camerawork, extreme framing, high-contrast shadows, rhythmic editing, and unsettling soundtrack produced a film that not only foregrounds Noguchi’s sculptures, but also gives them a new cinematic dynamism.


Courtesy: Film-Makers' Cooperative

Bridges-Go-Round
Shirley Clarke│8 min│1958│USA│Digital│No dialogue

 

Filmmaker Shirley Clarke was a modern dancer by training, and her film Bridges-Go-Round is a choreographed duet of dizzying colours, superimposed images, and movement inspired by the bridges of Manhattan. A sort of counter-palindrome, the film consists of a sequence of images played twice, but features two different soundtracks: a jazz piece by Ted Macero and an electronic music track by Louis and Bebe Barron.

Courtesy:Film-Makers' Cooperative

 

Night Journey
Nathan Kroll│30 min│1961│USA│Digital│No dialogue

 

The collaborative relationship between the artist Isamu Noguchi and the dancer-choreographer Martha Graham was one of the most fruitful creative partnerships of the twentieth century. Noguchi’s sets for Graham’s Night Journey, a ballet inspired by Sophocles’s tragedy Oedipus Rex, demonstrate the strength of the mutual influence between sculpture, space, bodies, and choreography, and how such connections helped to define Graham’s signature performances.

 

Courtesy: Janus Films

Scandal

14 April 2019 (Sunday), 5:45pm BUY TICKETS

Scandal
Akira Kurosawa│105 min│1950│Japan│35mm│Japanese with English subtitles

 

While travelling in the mountains, artist Ichiro (Toshiro Mifune) meets famous singer Miyako (Yoshiko Yamaguchi, who was married to Isamu Noguchi during the mid-1950s) by chance and gives her a ride back to the inn where they are both staying. Having been denied an interview with Miyako, the paparazzi publish a sensationalised version of her encounter with Ichiro. Hiruta (Takashi Shimura), a lawyer engaged by Ichiro to sue the tabloids, faces a crisis of conscience as he is entangled on both sides. Continuing a line of films that present a discordant picture of life in post-war Japan, Akira Kurosawa once described Scandal as ‘a protest film’ against the rise of the press and ‘its habitual confusion of freedom with license’.*  

 

*Donald Richie, The Films of Akira Kurosawa (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998), 65. 


© 1950 Shochiku Co., Ltd.

Manzanar | The Return

14 April 2019 (Sunday), 7:50pm BUY TICKETS

Manzanar
Robert Nakamura│16 min│1971│USA│Digital│English

 

Robert Nakamura, pre-eminent pioneer, scholar, and educator of Asian American media, made the film Manzanar to explore personal and collective histories of incarceration of Japanese Americans during the Second World War. Made while he was a first-year student at the University of California, Los Angeles, Manzanar presents Nakamura’s memories and impressions of ‘camp’ when he was interned there at the age of six. Interlacing his voice-over with period photographs of life in Manzanar—some of which were taken by a camera smuggled into camp—Nakamura’s film is a monumental cinematic gesture towards creating an image of trauma hitherto unseen and unacknowledged.  

 

The Return
Malene Choi Jensen│85 min│2018│Denmark│DCP│English, Danish, Korean with English subtitles

 

Thirty-something Karoline, who grew up in Denmark, arrives in Seoul for the first time to uncover her origins as an adoptee. She is joined at the adoptee welcome centre by Thomas, another person of Korean origin who was adopted by a Danish family. As they learn of other stories of reunions, discoveries, and dead-end searches, Karoline and Thomas confront their own reasons for seeking out their complicated histories, propelling them into a disorienting quest for identity, belonging, and destiny. Based on Malene Choi Jensen’s experiences as a Danish Korean adoptee, and starring actors of similar backgrounds, The Return is a hybrid docu-fiction that bristles with a contemporary outlook on transnational citizenship—of existing as a person from multiple origins and bound for multiple destinations.  

 

Courtesy: Pluto Film