The Myth of Disappearance / The Disappearance of the Myth
Irrespective of designations, such as“fiction film” or“documentary”, and descriptions of genres, cinema as a whole has always been connected with myths. We are going through a time, in Greece as well as in the rest of the world, when values, institutions and (vested) rights are being lost, while measures that homogenize our society and way of life even more are being imposed. Cinema appears to be suffering from the same problems; it seems to have lost its ability to dream a different dream. Controlled – like so many other things – by an unfeeling economy, it becomes predictable and demystified. From its very first year, the “Experimental Forum” has been dedicated to showcasing lost myths and treasures, both old and new. Though smaller in size this year, it proposes to address that which threatens us: the very idea of disappearance and the various involuntary and voluntary absences.
The Collectif Jeune Cinema, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, is a vanishing breed, as well as a shining example of the dissemination of a different kind of cinema. When experimental filmstarted to become homogenized, MarcelMazé – who will be attending the Festival – founded a space in Paris which, to this day, has managed to gather and distribute films by young directors which are very different to a recurring cinematic écriture which some people classified as experimental.
A cinematic enigma, J.X. Williams, will be presented for the first time in Greece and one of the few times in Europe. Williams is a filmmaker who, for the past decades, has literally disappeared, to the point where his very existence has been cast into doubt. Noel Lawrence, the curator of J.X. Williams’ archive and one of the few people involved with cinema who ever came in touch with him, will be bringing to Thessaloniki – all the way from California – some of Williams’ films that were recently discovered. Equally enigmatic is the story of ΟΜ Production, the Slovenian collective of visual artists and filmmakers, whose members all disappeared from the film scene almost at the same time, in the mid-80s. The journalist Slobodan Valentinčič, the archivist of the legendary collective, will reconstruct OM’s unique performance films through multi-channel film screenings in 8 and 16mm, and will talk about the framework which engendered and then swallowed up the multi-member group.
Through his feature film Foundation of Mind, which is having its world premiere in Thessaloniki, 18-year-old Israeli filmmaker Dror Heller talks about the disappearance of ideas and their desecration by senseless violence, while with his film The Anabasis of May and Fusako Shigenobu, Masao Adachi, and 27 years without Images, Eric Baudelaire talks about the reappearance of a legendary filmmaker who had left cinema in favor of armed conflict, and spent 28 years living clandestinely in Lebanon, fighting for the Palestinian cause. Through our programswe are not trying to extol disappearance, especially when inaccessibility is voluntary and is used as a promotional strategy. But, unfortunately, more in the domain of cinema which is termed experimental than anywhere else, we observe the phenomenon where the easy availability of works renders them of no interest to the structures that could promote them. With a program of short films that originate in Internet distribution platforms, we react to the “disappearance of the available”, showing that that is not the case at the Thessaloniki Film Festival, and that wonderful new films, such as Sea of Tranquility by Antoon Cox or Sivan by Zohar Elefant, should not go unnoticed, wherever they may come from.