FIDMarseille 2020: Night Vision, Shady River, Pajeú
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Night vision

After Visions du Réel, FIDMarseille is the second festival this year that I have never participated in and which I can now explore at least virtually. Compared to VdR's extensive slate and a variety of nonfiction approaches, FIDMarseille (which is no longer a purely nonfiction festival) has a reputation for falling behind on formal rigor and there is no time to balance the audience. This reputation is in line with what I've examined so far. (Also note that there was a physical, personal edition of FIDMarseille. The United States never could.) I started with Chilean director Carolina Moscoso Night vision (Visión nocturna), a debut feature that runs on two reluctantly converging tracks. One is a video diary made up of footage that was taken over 15 years without a special purpose – only the last scene was intentionally filmed for this project. The images come from half a dozen cameras, the resolution and fidelity of which have improved over the years. This is a document by an artist who has the time and luxury to experiment and find her voice. Moscoso is a habitual shot during the holidays, at home, in transit, etc., and is always interested in what happens when the technology is on its own (constant re-setting of the autofocus can accidentally lead to annoying images) or active on the other hand, she shoots herself (she enjoys putting the camera into night vision mode, taking it outside during the day and seeing what kind of overexposure results). As a document by a promising young filmmaker who finds out her visual language and interests, this is a strong introduction.

But Night is not just a formal sketchbook, it's also about Moscoso's rape years ago. Moscoso doesn't make this late game a big reveal; The story is told in the first minutes of the film by title cards, which are placed alternately over their pictures or the absolute darkness. The written sound is deafeningly factual and describes what happened and the immediate consequences without obvious emotions. After going to the police station to file a report, Moscoso went home for two weeks and was unable to walk. He watched episodes of Sex & the City and imagined she would never leave the house again. That she did it, regained her strength and made a film out of the ordeal is, of course, evidence of her strength, but Night is not interested in constructing a primarily emotional narrative about trauma and recovery. Instead, the complicated editorial framework threads this structuring story – the police investigations, initial interviews, etc. – around Moscoso's ongoing visual experiments and refinements, penetrates into them and rephrases them. The analogy of how trauma recurs in uncontrollable moments is skilfully treated, with Moscoso moving from shocked silence and written speech to voice-over as it begins to recover. The Voice / No Voice switch is one of several binary files in this film, with its inseparable separation between the impulse to "pure art" and the inevitable recognition of what happened on the way.

Night Vision was premiered in Valdivia and won the Grand Prix in the international competition department of FIDMarseille. Another award-winning feature (the Georges De Beauregard International Prize) on this list comes from Argentina and to a lesser extent deals with sexual trauma. Tatiana Mazú González Shady river examines the mining town of Río Turbio – the film's Spanish-language title – and the difference between the two titles causes confusion early on. When I read a series of on-screen text messages in shaky English about arriving in Shady River, I wondered if the filmmaker was going to a mining town in the United States, but it finally became clear that I was translating Spanish-language texts looked. I wouldn't be surprised if there were two versions of this film: the one I saw and the other where the news is still presented in Spanish. González also tends to penetrate poetry during this exchange, a decision “people really write that way,” whose strangeness is accentuated by accidental language barriers. This degree of unintentional alienation gives the early sections an additional frisson.

González is preparing to return home, and lets her aunt know that a family friend who can be seen in a photograph from her childhood has touched her against her will. While her aunt is shaken by this news, she quickly realizes that she fits into a pattern of macho behavior and behavior. Expectations of miners who have suffered terrible abuse in the mines and never want to talk about it when they get home. Miners were not allowed for years: The misogynist cover story ("local legend") said that there was a witch in the mine who was jealous of every woman who entered and that she would collapse every time she did. González goes one step further with this strange gender determination of the earth and shows a series of surprising drawings that depict the act of mining as a phallus enter-earth scenario. Accordingly, the tunnels of the mine correspond to a number of fallopian tubes (certainly someone from science) this analogy years ago, but I wouldn't know it). Shady River is ideologically uncompromising (the end credits end with shout-outs for people and against patriarchy) and with a deliberately unattractive palette (a lot of gray fog) based on the model of a particularly dark ambient album, which bleeds musique specific sounds of mining in and during the score. A regular bass rumble, which can only be called Lynchian (both because of its timbre and because of its relationship with industry), underpins the intricate mix that often contains the sounds of the archiving processes required to take photos. The old VHS et al. on the screen: Xerox devices, the whirring of scanners and, above all, the oscillating statics that are generated when a cell phone signal can be heard in the background of a call – a sound spirit from the time before the smartphone that I had forgotten. I wouldn't say no if someone wanted to send me a 40-minute .m4a of the film's audio highlights: It's a film designed to be heard as much as seen.

Pedro Diogenes Pajeú Similarly, the history of a city is examined from an apparently limited starting point – in this case the Titular River, especially the route that flows through the Brazilian city of Fortaleza. Diógenes caught my eye within two minutes when he briefly promised a horror film in which Maristela (Fatima Muniz) crossed a small bridge over the stream in daylight, then stopped and turned her head, her gaze captured by a crazy look became a creature that sits in the middle of the stream and slowly unfolds and rises into the air. This is almost like placing a bait-and-switch trailer at the start of your own film – the nightmarish vision repeats itself, but without additional threats or fear of jumping. If it's a trick, it still immediately drew me into a film in which Maristela (a performer who works with non-fiction interactions) effectively tries to get to the bottom of her dream, if only to do it to disappear: what was this crazy creature and what bad news does it symbolize? Of course, this will not be easy or reassuring: it is unsettling to get to know the course of the river, the way the city was built around it, and the knowledge gained in the process.

In his interview for the festival, Diógenes is open about the current political moment: “Brazil is facing a terrible moment when democracy is threatened by a far-right government that is an enemy of education, the environment, and the arts. Science, indigenous people, women, black people and poor people. We are all torn to pieces. “This urgency is evident in Pajeú, which unfolds a history of the diversion of the river to serve the interests of the rich, this history of economic stratification that is inevitably linked to colonialism – this is a psychogeography that is directly based on the past . But the film is much more fun than it sounds when you are asked to learn something about the river in order to speak to a wide range of fascinating people. There is eccentric fun along the way, like the man who angrily scolds that "all human power is corruption and hypocrisy", which is why he had to place his plants across the street. There are breaks to go to the bar and dance, the joys of watching drunk people play karaoke, the occasional unexpected surprise created by the horror images, and a sequence reminiscent of the hottest August (and therefore a line (which goes back to Chronicle of a Summer) where Maristela just goes to the beach to ask people if they have heard of the river and what they know about it, if any. For 73 minutes, Pajeú circles his subject with a restless, lively curiosity, the cheerfulness of which outweighs the emotional disappointment of the bad news that keeps coming down, and I prayed that it would survive the landing. Almost: the last scene is a bit clichéd, but a final resolution above it saves the film. This is a pleasant surprise that justifies digging festival boxes.

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