This month we're proud to be part of the London Korean Film Festival, presenting films as part of the classics and artists' moving image strands. Co-founder of the Korean New Wave, Lee Chang-ho will be here in person to present three of his highly-regarded features, which are almost unseen in the Western world. For the moving-image strand, LUX focusses on the lyrical and visually striking, the video works of Korean artist Seoungho Cho whose videos are distinguished by a unique confluence of complex image processing and sound collage.
We're extremely excited to host a unique visual essay and discussion by curator David Ellis, in collaboration with the Romanian Urban Collective Memory Archive. Ellis invites Irina Margareta Nistor – who worked as a translator of TV programmes in Romania under the communist regime, and is known for secretly dubbing over 3,000 banned film titles on VHS tapes smuggled in from the West – to discuss forbidden culture alongside a screening of original VHS material with live dubbing. Additionally we screen Harun Farocki's radical, media-based, Videograms of a Revolution, which condenses 125 hours of footage to carefully mediate perspective as it presents a picture of political turmoil as revealing and chilling as Eisenstein's October. This will be an extraordinary, unmissable event and advance booking is strongly advised.
This Friday, we welcome Fireflies magazine back to Close-Up to mark the launch of their new issue, which focusses on Pedro Costa and Ben Rivers – in celebration of which we've invited Rivers to Close-Up to screen and discuss two recent works. We're also thrilled to host the UK premiere of Jeff Merten's new documentary on the legendary free-jazz and noise trio Borbetamagus - a raw, urgent and unpolished vision of a band that has spent almost four decades defining and redefining their music.
Elsewhere this month we join the 20th Made in Prague festival, with a screening of The Shop on the High Street – a devastating examination of how minor compromises can finally lead to complicity in the horrors of tyranny; we also mark John Berger's Birthday with a screening of his film collaboration with Andrea Luka Zimmerman; and we extend our run of Andrei Tarkovsky films, with the Russian Auteur's seven masterpieces screened throughout the month.
Finally, thank you to all those who joined us for an intense weekend of VALIE EXPORT films, particularly to our guests, Shama Khanna, Kathryn Siegel, Mira Loew, and Sophia Satchell-Baeza for their insightful introductions; and once again to the Austrian Cultural Forum and Sixpackfilm for their generous support - without which this programme would not have been possible.
2 - 27 November 2016
Close-Up on Andrei Tarkovsky
Tarkovsky belongs to that handful of filmmakers who, with a small, concentrated body of work, created a universe. Though he made only seven features, thwarted by Soviet censors and then by cancer, each honoured his ambition to crash through the surface of ordinary life and find a larger spiritual meaning: to heal modern art's secular fragmentation by infusing it with metaphysical dimension. To that end he rejected Eisensteinian montage and developed a demanding, long-take aesthetic, which he thought better able to reveal the deeper truths underlying the ephemeral, performing moment.
4 November 2016
Fireflies Issue #4: Pedro Costa / Ben Rivers Launch + What Means Something & Sack Barrow
We’re delighted host the launch of film publication Fireflies Issue #4. Following explorations of the cinema of Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Pier Paolo Pasolini, Béla Tarr and Abbas Kiarostami, Claire Denis and Jia Zhangke Fireflies Issue #4 focuses on Pedro Costa and Ben Rivers, across 160 pages of essays, poetry, fiction, visual art and interviews in a beautifully designed print artefact. Ben Rivers will introduce two of his short films following the magazine launch: Sack Barrow explores a small family run factory in the outskirts of London, and What Means Something is portrait of the painter Rose Wylie - a meeting between two friends.
8 - 12 November 2016
London Korean Film Festival
We’re thrilled to be part of this year’s London Korean Film Festival, presenting two strands of films from their four week programme. For their Classics Revisited strand the LKFF brings together three visionary films by the influential and rebellious filmmaker Lee Chang-ho, co-founder of the Young Sung Shi Dae (Visual Age) group – a collection of like-minded Korean artists who sought to creatively push the boundaries of cinema, following the example set by the British Free Cinema and French Nouvelle Vague movements. For their new artist's film and video strand the LKFF focusses on significant artist's work from Korea, proposing a survey through three decades of work by video artist Seoungho Cho; ending the festival with a screening of artist and filmmaker Sung-a Yoon’s first feature-length documentary.
13 November 2016
VHS in off-World: Videograms of a Revolution
This programme presents two aspects of video as political tool: a medium allowing both the illegal exhibition of Western culture under Romania's dictatorship and a non-state, live record of the fall of the Ceausescu regime. Between 1984-89 in the apartments of tower blocks in Bucharest capital of a sequestered Communist Romania thousands of pirated videocassettes, forbidden films from the West were screened illegally. These films were tempered by the voice of Irina Margareta Nistor who frequently skirted exposure and arrest by Nicolae Ceasescu’s dreaded Securitate whilst simultaneously translating and dubbing the films into Romanian.
20 November 2016
Take Two: Instrument / A Pollock of Sound
We are thrilled to host the London premiere, and sole UK Screening, of A Pollock of Sound: Borbetomagus, with filmmaker Jef Mertens in attendance for a Q&A. This programme presents two vital documents of the DIY music underground, with Jem Cohen's Instrument following Fugazi over ten years, followed by the first-ever full feature documentary on the legendary free-jazz and noise group Borbetomagus and their scorched earth approach to music. From 1979 on, Borbetomagus have persevered a "no holds barred" musical style,with both saxophone players extending techniques beyond recognition and a guitar player utilising metal shards besides a plectrum, the band have showcased a whole new vocabulary staying true to the word "free". A limited edition vinyl pressing of a newly released and extremely rare studio recording by the band will be available to buy before and after the screening.
25 November 2016
Second Run: The Shop on the High Street
Part of the 20th Made in Prague Festival and in collaboration with Second Run, we present Ján Kadár and Elmar Klos’ The Shop on the High Street, a complex tale of ordinary lives disturbed and destroyed by war. One of the cornerstones of World Cinema, The Shop on the High Street is also perhaps the most internationally renowned film in all Czechoslovak cinema. "Tóno" Brtko, a poor carpenter, is appointed by his despised Nazi brother-in-law to be "Aryan controller" of an old Jewish widow’s sewing shop in a Nazi-occupied Slovakia in 1942. The widow, Rozalia is near deaf, isolated and partially sighted, barely even aware of the war or able to comprehend the danger in which she lives. Believing Tóno is simply her new assistant, the two develop a friendship that sees him maintaining that fiction as he attempts to protect her from the encroaching Nazi horror.
27 November 2016
Adaptations: Taskafa: Stories of the Street
Marking internationally acclaimed writer John Berger's 90th birthday this month, Whitechapel film curator Gareth Evans presents a special screening of Berger's film collaboration with Andrea Luka Zimmerman. Drawing on text from his novel King, Taskafa: Stories of the Street celebrates the street dogs of Istanbul. At once a genuinely singular portrait of a world city in transition, an affecting and committed study of those marginalized by globalization and an empathetic vision of resistance through a wholly different register of belonging, Taskafa is that rarest of breeds, a work of poetry and praise, singing of the heightened daily joys that come from a true comradeship between species.