Friday, 27 March 2020

The Remembered Film (Isabelle Tollenaere, 2018)


Back in 2015, Antwerp-based Isabelle Tollenaere's feature debut Battles examined what becomes of the traces of war: in peacetime, what happens to the various buildings and objects that were specifically constructed for conflict?  Whether chronicling the various methods of disposing of ordnance or highlighting how a prison camp can be repurposed, Battles nonetheless hinted at the unsettling idea that war - despite what John Lennon might have said - is never really over; rather, we just move to a state where we're between conflicts, and we learn to live with - and even make inventive use of - what's been left behind.

Tollenaere's 2018 short The Remembered Film, which also takes a novel look at war, could quite easily be viewed as a companion piece to Battles.  Opening in a lush green forest, it's some time before we hear anyone speak - on this basis, you'd be quite forgiven for thinking the film was going to be dialogue-free.  When someone eventually does break the silence, it's in the surprising form of a young man (quite possibly a teenager) in army fatigues, who speaks directly to the camera as he recounts some details of a conflict he was involved in.  This sets the pattern for the rest of the film as, one by one, a series of similarly-aged men relate their wartime experiences to the camera; quite poignantly, a few of them say nothing at all, but simply stare at the lens.


What is highly unusual about this setup, however, is that, judging by their uniforms, these soldiers seem to belong to several different armies: Wehrmacht, American and Soviet troops all appear to share these woods (although, curiously, all the men have English accents).  But what is far stranger is that the soldiers speak about wars that they couldn't possibly have participated in.  While these memories clearly don't belong to these men, they nonetheless do sound like authentic experiences.  From the stories, you do understand that war never really ends - at least not for the men behind these brief monologues who, in the main, remain haunted and disturbed by what they've seen.

Shot in a naturalistic, documentary style, The Remembered Film initially proves to be a jarring, slightly disorienting experience, and it takes a few minutes to tune in to what's actually going on.  Once you do, it's a satisfying, wistful piece, one which lingers long after its 18 minutes are up.  While none of the soldiers in The Remembered Film are as young as those featured in Monos, Tollenaere's film would work as an opening short for Alejandro Landes' nightmarish, hallucinatory tale; while the two films boast very different styles, they do share a special quality, one which taps into the poignancy of the countless young people who have been sent off to war.

Darren Arnold

Images: Flanders Image

Trailer

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

[CANCELLED] BFI Flare 2020 (18/3/20–29/3/20)


UPDATE (16/3/20)
This event has now been cancelled.  Click here for more info.

The 34th edition of BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival unveiled its full programme tonight [18/2/20] at BFI Southbank. One of the world’s most significant and long-standing LGBTIQ+ film events, BFI Flare will present over 50 features, 85 shorts and a wide range of special events, guest appearances, family-friendly and free events, club nights and more.

The Festival will open with the World Premiere of Matt Fifer and Kieran Mulcare’s remarkable feature debut Cicada, about a young man forced to face past traumas when he embarks on a new relationship. The Closing Night Gala is the UK Premiere of acclaimed theatre director Jessica Swale’s Summerland, a moving Second World War drama about a woman rediscovering her ability to love, starring Gemma Arterton and Gugu Mbatha-Raw.


Bumping into an ex the day she moves into a new apartment makes Anne reflect on her past in Valerie Bisscheroux’s Anne+ (Episodes 1-6), a smart and sexy web series. Taking refuge in an idyllic lake house following her recent break-up, Karen meets the mysterious Lana in Clementine (Dir. Lara Jean Gallagher), a moody and atmospheric debut. This year the Interbank LGBT Forum Members will support debut director Monica Zanetti’s Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie’s Dead Aunt), a delightful rom-com where Ellie’s dead aunt has the perfect dating advice for her. But will she listen to it? A kiss between two childhood friends has dramatic repercussions in Matthias & Maxime, Xavier Dolan’s eighth film.

Don your best Ver-sayce and leave your inhibitions at the door for a night you will never forget. Join award-winning Baby Lame as your host for a trash-tastic interactive screening, Showgirls Shade-Along (Fri 20th March), bringing Paul Verhoeven’s outrageously camp classic to life as you’ve never experienced it before. This special event will screen alongside Jeffrey McHale’s fascinating Showgirls documentary, You Don't Nomi (Fri 20th March, Sun 22nd March) which puts one of cinemas most baffling creations under the microscope.

From 18th – 29th March at BFI Southbank, the Festival will showcase the best of the latest global LGBTIQ+ features and short films. BFI Flare is divided into three thematic strands: Hearts, Bodies and Minds.

Source: BFI

Images: image.net