Sunday, June 13, 2010

Black Midsummer Sun

A new edition of Vicky Langan's darkly dazzling Black Sun 'weirdo / outer limits music' event is rapidly rising over the horizon. But now it has officially mutated into a 'weirdo / outer limts music + film night'. And I've been graciously invited to take care of the film programming.

This time, it's running for two nights:

June 22nd, The Pavilion, Cork @ 8pm (as part of the Midsummer Festival programme)

June 23rd, The Joinery, Arbour Hill, Dublin @ 7pm

For full information, please visit:

The live acts, curated as always by Vicky, are Sudden Infant and Family Battle Snake.

My programme notes for the film lineup are listed below. Although all the films are first rate, I'm particularly happy to be screening two shorts by the extraordinary Buharov Brothers from Hungary, whose gloriously extra-terrestrial work deserves to be much better known. A personal word of thanks to Vassily Bourikas for helping me obtain these films- and for introducing me to the Buharovs' cinema in the first place...

Ah, Liberty! (Ben Rivers, 2008)

Maverick British filmmaker Ben Rivers made a name for himself with a series of films documenting the lives of contemporary hermits, existing ideologically and geographically apart from today’s society, stubbornly forging their own ways of life in remote rural landscapes. Yet his films are not documentaries so much as impressionistic portraits strongly characterised by his distinctive, rough-hewn aesthetic. Rivers shoots on a wind-up 16mm Bolex, which allows a maximum shot length of just thirty seconds. He processes his own film in his kitchen sink, welcoming the beautiful blemishes this produces. Widely considered his masterpiece, Ah, Liberty! focuses not on a single character but on a family living in the remote Scottish highlands. This near-wordless, black-and-white vision of a life of complete freedom in a harsh, near-sublime landscape celebrates ‘liberty’ without sentimentalising it, at times attaining the quality of a feverish nightmare…

Concern For One’s Fellow Man (Ivan & Igor Buharov, 2000) & Hotel Tubu (Ivan & Igor Buharov, 2002)

It is with great excitement that Black Sun brings the work of one of contemporary European cinema’s best-kept secrets to Ireland. Ivan & Igor Buharov were born in the early ‘70s and became brothers in 1993. Since then, in addition to separate careers as artists and musicians, they have co-created Super-8 features and numerous shorts. Today, ‘originality’ might be a much-abused, almost meaningless term. But when confronted with films as utterly extra-terrestrial as the Buharovs’, that tired word proves the only recourse… Homemade and oneiric, these darkly playful 8mm hallucinations come with the aura of having been discovered in someone’s attic, precisely revealing a world perhaps subconsciously suspected but hitherto un-describable…

Artwar 3: Irresistible Attack (Jeff Keen, 1995)

Jeff Keen, the British master of underground cinema whose career stretches back to the ‘50s, has recently been receiving a measure of much-deserved international attention at last. His head-on collision of diary film, pulp meltdown, war-inspired iconography and live-wire fast cutting results in work that resembles an odd but also somehow necessary (and very heterosexual) hybrid of Jack Smith and William Burroughs. The extraordinary energy and spontanaeity of Keen’s visually dense work taps into the mad joy of penetrating and subverting the magic of moviegoing with the material reality of daily life. Artwar 3: Irresistible Attack belongs to the most formally aggressive phase of his career, an all-out declaration of faith in his marvelous slogan: ‘Deep War Hurts. Art War Makes Strong’


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