Thursday, May 30, 2019

EFS @ Moving Bodies Festival, Turin


Two programmes of Experimental Film Society (EFS) shorts and a live performance by frequent EFS collaborator Cillian Roche will be featured in the Moving Bodies Festival at the Teatro Espace in Turin, Italy from 2nd to 6th of July 2019. This annual festival hosts artists from both live arts and video/film art. Historically, the Teatro Espace building was the first film studio in Italy. Today it is home to several important dance and theatre companies.

This project made possible with support from Culture Ireland.

Programme One / 2nd July 2019:

1_Fragments by Chris O’Neill (2018) / 3mins / Ireland – United States

Fragments reimagines a 15-year-old film by O’Neill through creating an entirely new piece by using outtakes from it.

2_Bogna Kirchoff by Chris O’Neill (2019) / 6mins / Ireland

Bogna Kirchoff takes imagery from a 1970s espionage thriller and warps the imagery into a surreal abstract narrative that focuses on one supporting female character.

3_Olive (2019) by Michael Higgins / 11mins / Greece – Ireland

Although clearly filmed in our time, Olive uses the scratchy beauty of hand-processed celluloid to help evoke a mood of ancient ritual. Cinema is made to haunt the present like a ghostly vision from the past.

4_Ghoul (2018) by Michael Higgins / 8mins  / Ireland

The ghosts of a man and his dog haunt a rural Irish field in this claustrophobically atmospheric plunge into unsettling nocturnal textures.

5_The Underworld (2019) by Jann Clavadetscher / 17mins / Ireland

This hallucinatory trip through the psychedelic recesses of science fiction emerges from the flickering bowels of the earth. Clavadetcsher’s gorgeous 16mm colours and dazzlingly intense editing are underscored by a characteristic lightness of touch.

6_Antler (2018) by Atoosa Pour Hosseini / 15mins / Ireland

Pour Hosseini’s intricate work with Super-8 conjures a mysterious territory that exists between memory, subjective perception and the objective materiality of the filmed image.

Total running time: 60mins

Programme Two / 3rd July 2019:

1_Contact (2011) by Vicky Langan & Maximilian Le Cain / 3mins / Ireland

Contact uses Super-8 elements to play on the tensions between film image and material.

2_Double Blind (2018) by Vicky Langan & Maximilian Le Cain / 36mins / Ireland

Langan & Le Cain embrace the mood and iconography of classic Gothic literature and cinema to their raw, mysterious and often erotically charged universe. Two isolated storybook characters wander through the remains of a shattered B-movie.

3_ Homo Sapiens Project (160) (2013) by Rouzbeh Rashidi / 20mins / Ireland

Rashidi’s vision of cinema as an alien energy taking possession of humans has never been more clearly articulated than in HSP (160). This short also notably highlights his skill as a cinematic portraitist.

Total running time: 59mins

Cillian Roche Performance:

Cillian Roche is an outsider actor whose diverse and often challenging creative activities have included numerous collaborations with EFS.

Becoming, begoing,

Death cries the heart,

Birth cries the soul,

through art…

The Happiness of My Existence is a para-cinematic installation and celestial archeology of a river, incorporating a one hour live art peformance towards it’s end. The Artist wishes to thank and acknowledge the Moving Bodies Festival as the sole supporter of this work. The bones of which were set during a two-week residency at Moving Bodies Festival, 2016 in Teatro Espace, Turin. (Cillian Roche)

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

EFS @ The Other Cinema, Taipei Contemporary Art Center


Tzuan Wu of The Other Cinema Collective will be presenting a programme of Experimental Film Society screening at Taipei Contemporary Art Center in Taipei, Taiwan on Sunday 7th of July 2019. This screening will be followed by a Skype Q&A with me.

The Other Cinema Collective is a curator-artist collective based in Taipei, Taiwan. They curate film screening events and exhibitions on film, moving image, video art and all the time-based media arts.

The Programme:

1_Bogna Kirchoff By Chris O’Neill (2019) / 6mins / Ireland

Bogna Kirchoff takes imagery from a 1970s espionage thriller and warps the imagery into a surreal abstract film focussing on one supporting female character.

2_ Homo Sapiens Project (161-170) (2013) By Rouzbeh Rashidi / 8mins / Ireland

Rashidi’s Homo Sapiens Project (HSP) is an ongoing series of personal film experiments that range from cryptic film diaries and oneiric sketches to fully polished features. Installments 161-170 link a formally aggressive repurposing of Hollywood reels with an idiosyncratic appreciation of the wonder of science fiction.

3_Olive (2019) By Michael Higgins / 11mins / Greece – Ireland

Although clearly filmed in our time, Olive uses the scratchy beauty of hand-processed celluloid to help evoke a mood of ancient ritual. A group of people gathered in the remote countryside are absorbed into frames that often resemble the hand tinted colours and decaying textures of unrestored early cinema. Cinema is made to haunt the present like a ghostly vision from the past.

4_Brine Twice Daily (2015) By Vicky Langan / Maximilian Le Cain / 20mins / Ireland

Brine Twice Daily is a film that came from the sea, from the depths, and it never truly escapes its salt-encrusted origins. A bizarre romance that is at once an absurd comedy, a horror/adventure B-movie, a cryptic home video and a fading seaside postcard stuffed into a bottle and cast adrift on the ocean, Brine Twice Daily marks a new departure in the Langan/Le Cain filmmaking partnership.

5_The Underworld (2019) By Jann Clavadetscher / 17mins / Ireland

This hallucinatory trip through the psychedelic recesses of science fiction begins in the flickering bowels of the earth. An explorer played by Cillian Roche undergoes a bizarre mutation in which cinema itself might possibly play a part. Clavadetcsher’s gorgeous 16mm colours and dazzlingly intense editing are underscored by a characteristic lightness of touch.

6_Antler (2018) By Atoosa Pour Hosseini / 15mins / Ireland

Pour Hosseini’s work with Super-8 conjures a mysterious territory that exists between memory, subjective perception and the objective materiality of the filmed image. Antler pushes deeper into this realm, seamlessly combining archival footage of animals and reptiles in their habitats with newly filmed material of the artist and an assistant at work in a botanical garden.

Total running time: 77mins

Friday, May 10, 2019

Talk @ Zolala Klub


I'm on the bill at the next Zolala Klub at Cork's Siopa Gan Ainm. I'll be discussing the mysterious life and all but vanished work of Irish underground filmmaker Anthony Jervis Moran. Quality head scratching ahoy! May 15th, 7pm.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

EFS @ @ Departamento, Santiago Chile


The Langan/Le Cain film Brine Twice Daily will play as part of a programme of Experimental Film Society films at Departamento Social Club in Santiago, Chile on Wednesday 12th of June 2019.

The programme:

1_Bogna Kirchoff By Chris O’Neill (2019) / 6mins / Ireland

Bogna Kirchoff takes imagery from a 1970s espionage thriller and warps the imagery into a surreal abstract film focussing on one supporting female character.

2_ Homo Sapiens Project (161-170) (2013) By Rouzbeh Rashidi / 8mins / Ireland

Rashidi’s Homo Sapiens Project (HSP) is an ongoing series of personal film experiments that range from cryptic film diaries and oneiric sketches to fully polished features. Installments 161-170 link a formally aggressive repurposing of Hollywood reels with an idiosyncratic appreciation of the wonder of science fiction.

3_Olive (2019) By Michael Higgins / 11mins / Greece – Ireland

Although clearly filmed in our time, Olive uses the scratchy beauty of hand-processed celluloid to help evoke a mood of ancient ritual. A group of people gathered in the remote countryside are absorbed into frames that often resemble the hand tinted colours and decaying textures of unrestored early cinema. Cinema is made to haunt the present like a ghostly vision from the past.

4_Brine Twice Daily (2015) By Vicky Langan / Maximilian Le Cain / 20mins / Ireland

Brine Twice Daily is a film that came from the sea, from the depths, and it never truly escapes its salt-encrusted origins. A bizarre romance that is at once an absurd comedy, a horror/adventure B-movie, a cryptic home video and a fading seaside postcard stuffed into a bottle and cast adrift on the ocean, Brine Twice Daily marks a new departure in the Langan/Le Cain filmmaking partnership.

5_The Underworld (2019) By Jann Clavadetscher / 17mins / Ireland

This hallucinatory trip through the psychedelic recesses of science fiction begins in the flickering bowels of the earth. An explorer played by Cillian Roche undergoes a bizarre mutation in which cinema itself might possibly play a part. Clavadetcsher’s gorgeous 16mm colours and dazzlingly intense editing are underscored by a characteristic lightness of touch.

6_Antler (2018) By Atoosa Pour Hosseini / 15mins / Ireland

Pour Hosseini’s work with Super-8 conjures a mysterious territory that exists between memory, subjective perception and the objective materiality of the filmed image. Antler pushes deeper into this realm, seamlessly combining archival footage of animals and reptiles in their habitats with newly filmed material of the artist and an assistant at work in a botanical garden.

Thursday, May 02, 2019

We Are the Proposers - LSAD Third Year Exhibition


Vicky Langan and I have been working with third year Sculpture & Combined Media and Photography, Film, Video students at Limerick School of Art and Design. We're very much looking forward to their end of year show, We Are the Proposers, which is opening next week. 

Full details: https://bit.ly/2WjX4A6

An exhibition featuring eighteen artists, spanning two historic locations of Limerick City;

Tait Clothing Factory, Lord Edward St, & Sailor’s Home, O’Currys St.
09/05/2019 - 12/05/2019, 11:00 am - 5:00 pm

Opening 9th May 5.30pm at Tait Clothing Factory, wine reception and speeches 7.30pm at Sailors Home with a performative parade leading the audience between locations

“Our Proposition is that of a Dialogue”

This exhibition whose title pays homage to Lygia Clark, marks the culmination of three years’ experience gained in LSAD, and celebrates the diversity of perspectives unified by the unique ethos of self-expression promoted in both courses. The students enter into a dialogue with two valued historic sites of industry, expanding the creative hub of LSAD into Limerick’s City Centre, and re-opening these buildings to the public.

The work stems from internal perspectives of the world manifested in material interaction, with each individual proposition becoming unified in conversation with the shared space. The intention of this joint exhibition is to focus on these exchanges; between artist and viewer, between the digital and analogue material languages, between the bodily and the sensory working in tandem with the machine.

This provocative dichotomy is challenged and cross-examined throughout the exhibition, encouraging dialogue between all aspects of participation.

“Alone We do not Exist.”

This exhibition has been curated by Vicky Langan & Max Le Cain, both Cork based artists working in a performative film making partnership for the past ten years, recent works including the Arts Council funded feature film Inside produced for TULCA 2017.

The opening will be launched by Valerie Connor, lecturer on BA Photography, School of Media, Technological University Dublin, curator of TULCA 2013 and recently the invited curator of Active Archive – Slow Institution, research project and exhibition organized by Project Art Centre.


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

The Makavejev Magic


I wrote the following text commemorating the great Dušan Makavejev for a recent retrospective and exhibition that took place in Pula, Croatia (March 27th - 29th)

The Makavejev Magic

Dušan Makavejev’s death earlier this year had the unsettling feeling of a presence slipping away that only draws attention to itself through its vanishing. Makavejev had been silent as a filmmaker for over twenty years. In departing, he took with him a significant chapter in the history of one of cinema’s most heroic eras, the cutting edge of ‘60s/’70s European filmmaking which is now fast passing from living memory. Although his name looms large over the expanse of film history he is associated with, his death was a jolting reminder that Makavejev the man had still been here all this time. 

Not that Makavejev was forgotten. Certainly not by Experimental Film Society (EFS), the small community of experimental filmmakers working in Ireland that I belong to. For several of us, Sweet Movie in particular remains a constant reference and a constant goad: its freedom, wild inventiveness and infectious sense of mischief remain seldom matched. If it is a film ‘of its time’, this label is less about packing it away in a box than seeing it as a paragon of the sort of unchained creativity that is so often lacking in today’s cinema. Yet when my EFS colleague Rouzbeh Rashidi wrote a personal response to Makavejev’s death, he chose to meditate on how time can effect even the greatest of artists’ creative work. Posted on Rouzbeh’s blog Cinema Thoughts, where he publishes his reflections on filmmaking, it considered the trajectory of Makavejev’s career in very human terms:     

Over the past few days, I have been watching Dušan Makavejev’s films and revisiting them. The radicalism, alternative approaches and thinking behind his cinema are genuinely unmatched and utterly unique. His movies from 1965 beginning with Man is Not a Bird to 1974 Sweet Movie are absolute masterpieces. Unfortunately, any other films he made beyond Sweet Movie (after a seven-year hiatus) had lost their magic and extremism. At the same time, I wonder, how can you make another personal film after a gigantic groundbreaking product like Sweet Movie? How can one filmmaker deal with such a considerable amount of creative eruption and continue making films after it? This notion also reminded me of Béla Tarr’s The Turin Horse which he has said will be his last film. So far, he hasn’t made a film since, after having a mind-blowing career from 1977 to 2011 and of course never compromised.

How long, under what mental and social conditions and for what motivations can outsider-filmmakers keep on doing work and survive at the same time? When is the right time to stop making, if ever? These questions have always been haunting me, and I still found no answers for them. History of cinema is everything and the most crucial guide for any filmmaker to comprehend (solely for themselves internally) the psychological, practical and existential aspects of filmmaking! (Rouzbeh Rashidi, 27/1/’19)


I would argue that some of the later works, Montenegro and Gorilla Bathes At Noon in particular, retain enough of the Makavejev magic to make me very glad that he did return to filmmaking. Yet Sweet Movie does mark the climax of his career. It is certainly his most extreme movie and remains controversial to this day. Only Makavejev can really know how much mental, physical and emotional energy was demanded to make it and then to deal with the reactions it provoked. When he emerged from the wilderness seven years later, it was as a gentler filmmaker. Yet extremism for its own sake is mostly worthless and there is far more to Sweet Movie than that. 

It must have taken enormous creative stamina to make a film that feels so loose and freewheeling and yet which time and again alights on an image so perfectly conceived in its strangeness and humanity that it emotionally anchors the movie. We could list the various acts of this carnival with all their sensationalist headlines from the golden penis to the seduction of children to the spectacularly scatological regressions of Otto Muehl’s commune to the incorporation of real atrocity footage. But the real wonder of this film is precisely its sense of wonder. Sweet Movie attacks every target in sight, with consumerism and communism getting equally trashed, and the lifestyle experimentation of the commune faring little better. But if we place it next to the cold despairing fury of such comparably extreme and radical films of the time as Godard’s Weekend or Pasolini’s Salo, what is most striking about it is its sense of joy. How can a film that appears so bleak and abject on paper be imbued with such warmth and compassion on screen, and ultimately feel so life affirming? Largely because Makavejev regards his characters with a delighted fascination and good humour rather than with disgust, and even the most repulsive of them is animated by a compelling life force. The animal urges that drive us can lead to destruction, especially when subjected to repression or exploitation, but they are also the only source of freedom and joy.  


More memorable than Sweet Movie’s overtly shocking images are the haunting moments in which characters are granted private and mysterious instants of dignified intimacy either with each other or simply with the camera. Moments of self-realisation like the eye contact between El Macho (Sami Frey) and Miss Canada (Carole Laure) before she symbolically completes their grotesquely interrupted coitus by breaking eggs over her head, or the childlike acceptance of death expressed by the irresistibly graceful Pierre Clementi after being stabbed for the first time. It takes a very particular sensibility to see so much love in so much horror without the intrusion of a single frame of softness or sentimentalism. Surely this is what ‘Makavejev magic’ consists of. 

With Makavejev’s passing we lost his very particular perspective on humanity, one which we need more than ever today. Even if the last two decades slipped by without being illuminated by a new Makavejev film, there was an existential comfort to be taken from knowing that this chaos of a world we live in was still being regarded by the eyes behind Sweet Movie and considered with the same mind. 

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Residency @ Tyrone Guthrie Centre


Vicky Langan and I are on residency at the wonderful Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig in Co. Monaghan thanks to a bursary from Cork County Council. We're working on several joint and solo projects while here. Yesterday we were shooting tigers for a still under-wraps Experimental Film Society movie. Watch this space!