Tuesday, November 30, 2010

On Saidin Salkic's KONVENT

Here's a text I've written about Australia-based filmmaker and musician Saidin Salkic's extraordinary Konvent. This is a filmmaker to watch...

(Bill Mousoulis has also written eloquently about this film. See:http://www.messandnoise.com/discussions/4096828)

Saidin Salkic’s KONVENT is a medium-length film by a Bosnian filmmaker living in suburban Australia. This is its background. But what actually is it? A man in his home, alone. A man in his own space and time. And this is enough.

To be able to capture a subjective impression of the flow of time and the texture of space is one of cinema’s most specific, if under-used, gifts. If the anecdotal has become cinema’s main subject, it’s perhaps partly because it’s so fiendishly difficult to embrace this most apparently simple capacity of the medium and harness it to the unadorned rendition of a truly personal sense of time passing and space inhabited. Only a few rare filmmakers, including Jean-Claude Rousseau, Chantal Akerman and Rouzbeh Rashidi, have achieved this and, in so doing, have given audiences access to a world that is, in its simplicity, utterly mysterious. They have shared their immediate perception of the details of life, solitary observations which have granted viewers the uncanny privilege of experiencing as another human being, not a vicarious fictional construct but a private individual.

Saidin Salkic is another name to add to this small but priceless list of artists. In KONVENT, he allows us to share his space. Patience is required and rewarded. Narrative exposition is abandoned in favour of a mounting awareness of an ineffable inner intensity created by this man’s silent presence. We see Salkic alone in his house. Night, images of light bulbs. Day, the garden. Salkic shaves. He stares into the camera. We enter his bedroom, he gazes into space. Long takes, the informality of DV images…

It’s not the content of what he’s thinking and feeling that becomes apparent but its emotional residue that permeates the film’s every image in an unusually compelling build up of unspoken discomfort. This discomfort stems from the paradoxical relationship KONVENT establishes with its viewer. On the one hand, the audience couldn’t be closer to Salkic. We are invited into his home, invited to share his loneliness, given access to its articulation of time. The intimacy we come to share with him implies a relationship beyond words and narrative facts. Yet he remains opaque, the silent appeal to the viewer implied by the relationship he sets up with his camera never clarified to the point of allowing the spectator to formulate a response. We don’t know how to reach out. In entering such an acute awareness of another human’s isolation, we become equally aware of ourselves, of our own isolation. In creating such an apparently solipsistic film, Salkic has touched on a universal condition with a rawness that ostensibly ‘universal’ modes of communication can seldom even begin to approach.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Reaction!

It's great to get a reaction! And this response to my screening in Dublin last July is certainly that. Given the heat in which this was obviously written, we can forgive the author his several lapses in accuracy in describing what he saw, eg mistaking a donkey for a dog (even a donkey which is in medium close-up, centre frame for over a minute), transposing the whistling that a female performer does in one film onto a male performer in another, etc, etc. But, on the whole, this '11 year old child who just got his first camera and enjoys eating feces while performing experiments on worms' is touched and delighted at such a fulsome response:


Monday, November 22, 2010

New Internet Work Online

Presence 1-20, a new work made exclusively for Youtube, is now online:


It's both my most conceptual and most minimal effort yet.

Friday, November 19, 2010

SEESOUND Clip Online

Documentation by Claire Guerin of the SEESOUND event which I participated in last week is online here:


Footage of Karen Power accomanying my video Involuntary Participation is at 22:12 in the video.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Art Trail TV Clip

A 20-second ad I made for Cork's Art Trail can be seen here:


Although selected by Art Trail for broadcast, RTE television deemed the flickering imagery it includes too intense for it to go out on air.

Friday, November 12, 2010

SMUDGE in Brazil

Smudge will be screened at the Festival Internacional de Cinema Independente in Rio Claro, Brazil, later this month. (An)Other Irish Cinema comrades Rouzbeh Rashidi and Donal Foreman also have films in this programme.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

DEPARTURE For Barcelona

Point of Departure is screening at L'Alternativa 17é Festival de Cinema Independent de Barcelona next week:


Sunday, November 07, 2010

Monochrome Youtube

Makeshift Mineshaft's song Monochrome Dreams is now on Youtube, accompanied by my video:


Their description:

A Maximilian Le Cain created video for a song about a past that may never have existed, the darker elements of old hollywood, a place littered with ghosts and riddled with contradiction.

Saturday, November 06, 2010


A new video of mine, Involuntary Participation, will be screened as part of this event next week. Karen Power will be performing live sound with it.

The Guesthouse presents Seesound to coincide with the Corona Cork Film Festival.

Saturday November 13th, 3pm - 10pm, The Guesthouse, Shandon, Cork

SEESOUND is an annual event where a selection of sound and moving image makers are invited to collaborate and create new audio visual works that explore the dialogue between sound and image.

This event will present improvised sound, improvised video performances, composed sound and composed video works in a series of 6 audio visual screenings.

Admission is free but booking essential. Please email: the.guesthouse.project@gmail.com

Participating Artists-

Video: James Mc Cann, Dave Grannell, Rory Mullins, Arthur O Regan, Irene Murphy, Jeff Weeter, Max Le Cain, Claire Guerin, Maicek Klich, Catherine Harty, Collette Nolan, Alex Rose

Sound: Mick O’Shea, Ed Grannell, Dan Guiney, Paul Hegarty, Danny McCarthy, Karen Power, tenpastseven, Sunfish, Francis Heery, John Godfrey, MERSK

Monday, November 01, 2010

Six Principles by Donal Foreman

These 'six principles', devised by Donal Foreman, could stand as a succinct creative manifesto for my filmmaking as much as for his.

1. The distinction between fiction and documentary is meaningless.

2. Each image is a singular event.

3. The camera is always part of the scene.

4. Cinema is a dialogue between will and reality.

5. Be, don't illustrate.

6. "In narrative cinema---and all cinema is narrative to some degree---it is the type of image produced that determines the narrative, not the reverse." --Raul Ruiz