London Film Festival 2009

Date: 24 October 2009 | Season: London Film Festival 2009 | Tags:

24—25 October 2009

London BFI Southbank

The London Film Festival’s annual weekend dedicated to artists’ film and video will take place on 24-25 October 2009.

The programme presents a varied selection of international works ranging from the contemporary ethnography of Mirza/Butler to Jim Trainor’s witty, naïve animation of ancient civilisations. Gustav Deutsch introduces FILM IST. a girl & a gun, a battle of the sexes told through footage from early cinema, and a special event featuring new prints of films by Hollis Frampton complements the recent publication of his collected writings.

Established filmmakers Lewis Klahr, Mara Mattuschka and Matthias Müller are shown alongside younger artists Paul Abbott, Jana Debus, and Laida Lertxundi, who are screening in the festival for the first time. Continuous installations by Laure Prouvost and Victor Alimpiev will be presented in the BFI Southbank Studio.

Elsewhere in the festival, look for new features by Johan Grimonperez, Andrew Kötting, Ken McMullen and Sam Taylor-Wood, preservations of The Savage Eye and Far From Vietnam and the rediscovery of Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno.


Date: 24 October 2009 | Season: London Film Festival 2009 | Tags:

Saturday 24 October 2009, 12-7pm
London BFI Southbank Studio

A new work made for the Festival turns its attention to the viewer and the room itself. ‘Come inside, I’m going to explain a few things. Just about you and the space we’re in. It’s quite warm in here, you should take off your jacket …’

Laure Prouvost, UK-France, 2009, video, colour, sound, 9 min (continuous loop)
Prouvost weaves whimsical and intimate narratives that both mesmerise and disturb, blurring the boundary between reality and fantasy in ways that parody traditional narrative structures. Things never seem to quite match up in Prouvost’s stories, leaving the viewer with the task of trying to fix these somewhat messy and imperfect narratives that begin full of mystery and enchantment only to unravel and shatter any promise of a happy ending. (Jamie Wyld)

Laure Prouvost was born in Lille in 1978 and lives and works in London. She received the EAST International award for 2009 and has also recently exhibited at After the Butcher Berlin, Monika Bobinska Gallery and MOT London, and the Zoo Art Fair. Her videos are distributed by LUX. Prouvost has been director of, the online moving images gallery, since 2003.

Hollis Frampton: Hapax Legomena

Date: 24 October 2009 | Season: London Film Festival 2009 | Tags:

Saturday 24 October 2009, at 2pm
London BFI Southbank NFT3

Hollis Frampton, a key figure of the American avant-garde, was an artist and theoretician whose practice closely resonates with contemporary discourse. The series of seven films known as Hapax Legomena is, alongside Zorns Lemma, one of his most distinguished achievements, and will be presented in its entirety on new preservation prints. Predating Magellan, the ambitious ‘metahistory’ of film left unfinished by his early death in 1984, Hapax Legomena traces Frampton’s own creative progression from photographer to filmmaker. It dissects sound/image relationships, incorporates early explorations of video and television, and looks forward to digital media and electronic processes. Though notoriously rigorous, Frampton’s films are infused with poetic tendencies and erudite wit, sustaining a dialogue with the materials of their making, and the viewer’s active participation in their reception.

‘Hapax legomena are, literally, ‘things said once’ … The title brackets a cycle of seven films, which make up a single work composed of detachable parts … The work is an oblique autobiography, seen in stereoscopic focus with the phylogeny of film art as I have had to recapitulate it during my own fitful development as a filmmaker.’ (Hollis Frampton)

Hollis Frampton, (nostalgia), USA, 1971, 36 min
As a sequence of photographs is presented and slowly burned, a narrator recounts displaced anecdotes related to their production, shifting the relationship between words and images.

Hollis Frampton, Poetic Justice, USA, 1972, 31 min
A ‘film for the mind’ in which the script is displayed page by page for the viewer to read and imagine.

Hollis Frampton, Critical Mass, USA 1971, 16 min
Frampton’s radical editing technique disrupts and amplifies the already impassioned argument of a quarrelling couple.

Hollis Frampton, Travelling Matte, USA, 1971, 34 min
‘The pivot upon which the whole of Hapax Legomena turns’ uses early video technology to interrogate the image.

Hollis Frampton, Ordinary Matter, USA, 1972, 36 min
This ‘headlong dive’ from the Brooklyn Bridge to Stonehenge is a burst of exhilarated consciousness.

Hollis Frampton, Remote Control, USA, 1972, 29 min
‘A ‘baroque’ summary of film’s historic internal conflicts, chiefly those between narrative and metric/plastic montage; and between illusionist and graphic space.’

Hollis Frampton, Special Effects, USA, 1972, 11 min
Stripping away content leaves only the frame. ‘People this given space, if you will, with images of your own devising.’

Hapax Legomena has been preserved through a major cooperative effort funded by the National Film Preservation Foundation and undertaken by Anthology Film Archives, MoMA, the New York University Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program, and project conservator Bill Brand.

‘On the Camera Arts and Consecutive Matters: The Writings of Hollis Frampton’, edited by Bruce Jenkins, was published by MIT Press in April 2009. The collection presents Frampton’s critical essays (many written for Artforum and October) along with additional material – including lectures, correspondence, interviews, production notes and scripts – which display his distinctive perspectives on photography, film, video, and the plastic and literary arts.

Also Screening: Thursday 29 October 2009, at 6:30pm, NFT3


Human Nature

Date: 24 October 2009 | Season: London Film Festival 2009 | Tags:

Saturday 24 October 2009, at 7pm
London BFI Southbank NFT3

Friedl vom Gröller, Passage Briare, Austria, 2009, 3 min
A meeting of friends in a Paris backstreet, and an unexpected revelation.

Josef Dabernig, Hotel Roccalba, Austria, 2009, 10 min
In a subtle choreography, the occupants of a small Alpine hotel pass a lazy afternoon. Not much happens, but all may not be as it appears.

Jana Debus, Gregor Alexis, Germany, 2008, 20 min
The filmmaker’s schizophrenic brother recounts personal experiences, slipping between first and third person. The locations chosen for this portrait – a desolate apartment and a wasteland littered with abandoned machinery – are indicative of the condition of someone potentially as vulnerable as the insects that collect on his windowsill.

Ken Jacobs, The Discovery, USA, 2008, 4 min
Tom’s dextrous parlour game attracts unwanted attention. A stolen moment, frozen in time, now re-animated for all to see.

Jim Trainor, The Presentation Theme, USA, 2008, 14 min
As primitive Magic Marker drawings illustrate the myths and rituals of the ancient Moche civilisation, a disparaging narrator describes the tormented trials of a hapless creature amongst goblets of blood, fanged men and a sacrificial priestess.

Mara Mattuska & Chris Haring, Burning Palace, Austria, 2009, 32 min
This new collaboration between Mattuschka and Vienna’s Liquid Loft takes us behind the velvet curtains of the Burning Palace, whose peculiar inhabitants have an itch they just can’t scratch.


My Absolution

Date: 25 October 2009 | Season: London Film Festival 2009 | Tags:

Sunday 25 October 2009, from 12-7pm
London BFI Southbank Studio

Alimpiev’s work imbues the simplest gestures with mystery and consequence. An actress performs a sequence of enigmatic actions towards the nape of a second woman’s neck in a performance that creates an almost sculptural tension which is never quite released.

Victor Alimpiev, Russia-Netherlands, 2008, video, colour, sound, 8 min
Victor Alimpiev’s videos are experiments in controlled spontaneous behaviour. Whether providing a close-up view of a singing exercise in which one woman instructs another on proper breathing techniques (My Breath, 2007) or juxtaposing a group of schoolgirls rapping on their desks with the ragings of a summer storm (Summer Lightnings, 2004), Alimpiev reveals our concomitant proximity to and distance from the natural world. The desperation implicit in his attempt to align the rational and the irrational is echoed in the camera’s tight frame and abrupt interruptions. The resulting tension derives from both the exhilarating effort to master nature’s rhythms and the manifest impossibility of achieving this task. (Claire Gilman)

Victor Alimpiev was born in Moscow in 1973 and is represented by Regina Gallery Moscow and Galerie Anita Beckers Frankfurt. He has recently exhibited at the Moscow and Berlin biennales, SMAK Ghent, Modern Art Oxford and Impakt Festival Utrecht. His solo show “To Trample Down an Arable Land” is currently on display at the Ikon Gallery Birmingham until 15 November 2009.

The Exception and the Rule

Date: 25 October 2009 | Season: London Film Festival 2009 | Tags:

Sunday 25 October 2009, at 2pm
London BFI Southbank NFT3

Akosua Adoma Owusu, Me Broni Ba (My White Baby), USA-Ghana, 2008, 22 min
Driven by the pulsing sounds of Afrobeat and American soul, this spirited study of Ghanaian hair salons questions representations of beauty and ethnicity. While teams of women weave elaborate styles, children practice braiding on the blonde hair of white baby dolls, surplus stock exported from the West.

Laida Lertxundi, My Tears Are Dry, USA-Spain, 2009, 4 min
A song of heartache, an afternoon’s repose and the eternal promise of the blue California sky.

Karen Mirza, Brad Butler, The Exception and the Rule, UK-Pakistan-India, 2009, 38 min
Shot primarily in Karachi, The Exception and the Rule employs a variety of strategies in negotiating consciously political themes. Avoiding traditional documentary modes, the film frames everyday activities within a period of civil unrest, incorporating performances to camera, public interventions and observation. This complex work supplements Mirza/Butler’s Artangel project ‘The Museum of Non Participation’.


FILM IST. a girl & a gun

Date: 25 October 2009 | Season: London Film Festival 2009 | Tags:

Sunday 25 October 2009, at 4pm
London BFI Southbank NFT3

Gustav Deutsch, FILM IST. a girl & a gun, Austria, 2009, 97 min
Taking its cue from DW Griffith via J-L Godard, the latest instalment of the FILM IST series is a five-act drama in which reclaimed footage is interwoven with aphorisms from ancient Greek philosophy. Beginning with the birth of the universe, it develops into a meditation on the timeless themes of sex and death, exploring creation, desire and destruction by appropriating scenes from narrative features, war reportage, nature studies and pornography. The Earth takes shape from molten lava, and man and woman embark upon their erotic quest. For this mesmerising epic, Deutsch applies techniques of montage, sound and colour to resources drawn from both conventional film archives and specialist collections such as the Kinsey Institute and Imperial War Museum. Excavating cinema history to tease new meanings from diverse and forgotten film material, he proposes new perspectives on the cycle of humanity. The film’s integral score by long-term collaborators Christian Fennesz, Burkhardt Stangl and Martin Siewert incorporates music by David Grubbs, Soap&Skin and others.

Also Screening: Thursday 29 October 2009, at 4pm, NFT2


Whirl of Confusion

Date: 25 October 2009 | Season: London Film Festival 2009 | Tags:

Sunday 25 October 2009, at 7pm
London BFI Southbank NFT3

Mary Helena Clark, And the Sun Flowers, USA, 2008, 5 min
‘Notes from the distant future and forgotten past. An ethereal flower and disembodied voice guide you through the spaces in between.’ (Mary Helena Clark)

Greg Pope, Shot Film, UK-Norway, 2009, 4 min
Taking the expression ‘to shoot a film’ at face value, this 35mm reel has been blasted with a shotgun.

Matthias Müller, Christoph Giradet, Contre-Jour, Germany, 2009, 11 min
My Eyes! My Eyes! Flickering out from the screen and direct to your retina, Contre-jour is not for the optic neurotic. Take a deep breath and try to relax as Müller and Girardet conduct their examination.

David Gatten, Film for Invisible Ink Case No. 142: Abbreviation for Dead Winter (Diminished by 1,794), USA, 2008, 13 min
‘A single piece of paper, a second stab at suture, a story three times over, a frame for every mile. Words by Charles Darwin.’ (David Gatten)

Paul Abbott, Wolf’s Froth / Amongst Other Things, UK, 2009, 15 min
By chance or circumstance, wolf’s froth’s covert syntax refuses to be unpicked. Entangling anxious domesticity with the spectre of aggression, it conjures a mood of underlying discomfort and intrigue.

Lewis Klahr, False Aging, USA, 2008, 15 min
Klahr’s surreal collage journeys through lost horizons of comic book Americana and is brought back down to earth by Drella’s dream. And nobody called, and nobody came.

Oliver Husain, Mount Shasta, Canada, 2008, 8 min
What is ostensibly a proposal for a film script is acted out, without artifice, in a bare loft space as Mantler plays a plaintive lament. A puppet show like none other that will leave you bemused, befuddled and bewildered.