Cinema Theresia: Apichatpong Weerasethakul + Phil Solomon

Photograph by Chaisiri Jiwarangsan © Kick the Machine Films

24.08
’22 21:30

21:30

Theresia
Theresianenstraat 9, Ghent

Tickets

€5 / €1 ((UITPas) – CASH ONLY Order

Make a RESERVATION right away by clicking ‘Order’ above (limited number of seats!)

Entrance through the big front garden.

In case of rain, the screening will take place in the chapel.

Bring a sweater or blanket.

Chairs are provided.

Garden bar open before and during the screening.

Your garden screening seems fantastic and I am all for it!
— Apichatpong Weerasethakul

 

This summer, Art Cinema OFFoff is back with an open-air screening, combining 16mm and digital projection. In the garden of a former convent, we present a program around the night and the garden. In the spirit of this old cloister, three of the six films are silent.

Thai filmmaker and artist Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Memoria, Uncle Boonmee, Tropical Malady, Cemetery of Splendour) granted permission to show three of his rarely screened short films: My Mother’s Garden (2007), Blue (2018) and Phantoms of Nabua (2009).

We combine this selection with analog work by Phil Solomon (1954-2019) – lauded by Stan Brakhage as “the greatest filmmaker of his generation.” We show the appropriately titled The Secret Garden (1988), The Exquisite Hour (1989) and Nocturne (1994).

The wow factor of Solomon’s films can be as difficult to convey as the deep feeling they instill in the viewer. He makes films that look like no others I’ve seen.” — Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

In the 1980s, Solomon paved the way for a more intimate, minor cinema against all prevailing trends. For him, this often meant creating a potent and mysterious new emotional life from found footage by chemically treating the film emulsion or re-photographing images. Solomon was one of the first masters in experimenting with the optical printer, a machine (part camera, part projector) that allows films to be re-photographed frame-by-frame – generally used in the film industry for adding dissolvers, slow-motion or special effects.

Solomon and Apichatpong share a fascination with dreams, visions and memories. Here, both emphasize the multi-layered nature of the film image without allowing it to function as a window that can penetrate a mysterious, inner world. Nothing is what it seems.

 

The work of Apichatpong Weerasethakul is shown on DCP, that of Phil Solomon on 16mm film, with Nocturne being a b&w reversal print.

In collaboration with Kuleshov and Theresia.

 

Apichatpong Weerasethakul

My Mother’s Garden

A Dior jewelry collection inspired by carnivorous plants transforms into animal-like beings that float across the screen, trailed by hand drawn roots, insects and various other organisms. Imbued with Apichatpong’s memories of his mother’s wild orchid garden, this silent film is both an entrancing display of color and an intimate, personal reflection.

© Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Blue

Blue was filmed during twelve nights in the heart of the Thai forest. A woman (Apichatpong’s regular actor Jenjira Pongpas Widner) lies awake. Her blue blanket appears to catch fire. Nearby, a set of theatre backdrops unspools itself, unveiling alternate landscapes. The scene contains a memory of a different scene, Jen sleeping in Uncle Boonmee (2010), watched over by the fading ghost of her dead sister.

© OnP / Les Films Pelléas

Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Phantoms of Nabua

Teens emerge from the dark with a football raging with fire. A recreation of a fluorescent light pole from the filmmaker’s hometown illuminates the playground. A makeshift movie screen shows a rear projection of fireworks and lightning above the border town of Nabua, historically the scene of racial strife and clashes between the Thai army and communist farmers. Finally, the movie screen goes up in flames. The young men crowd around it to witness the blazing canvas, behind which is revealed the ghostly white beam of a projector. A work of unseen intensity.

Photograph by Chaisiri Jiwarangsan © Kick the Machine Films

Phil Solomon

The Secret Garden

Recurrent images of a boy in bed suggest that, even more than Eden, the film’s “garden” is the garden of childhood storytelling, imagination, dreams, even feverish visions, as if the film was being seen through the boy’s mind’s eye – Apichatpong feels the same about My Mother’s Garden. Solomon made this silent film while his mother was sick. An adult speaks to the boy, a subtitle reads “Once upon a time.” Solomon interweaves images from different commercial features – The Wizard of Oz, a primal film for him as a kid, or a subtitled version of The Secret Garden (Fred M. Wilcox, 1949) – and a variety of other material takes on a life of its own. Experiments with the optical printer and a lens producing a certain kind of “unwanted” diffusion generate prismatic and glowing distortions. A sensual festival of color and tropical lushness expressing a longing for ecstasy. A final glance out towards the audience by the boy pierces the screen with a violated vulnerability and a silent accusation.

© Canyon Cinema

Phil Solomon

The Exquisite Hour

The Exquisite Hour is an elegiac lullaby of breathtakingly lush images of the physical world – birds, water, mountains, wild animals, … As in The Secret Garden, one is tempted to see these images as contained in the imagination of the central figure – in this case, an old bedridden man, seen through a window: memories of a world no longer accessible, phantoms at the moment of death, home movies of a newlywed couple, fragments of early cinema, such as a magician and his assistant in flames, … Solomon dedicated the film to his grandparents, Albert Solomon, who was a projectionist for Fox, and Rose Solomon, who took tickets at Lowe’s Paradise, Grand Concourse, in the Bronx. Halfway through, we hear a recording of his grandfather lying in a hospital bed – made surreptitiously with one of the first Walkmans. He was in his nineties and had just lost his wife like Solomon had lost his mother before making this film: “It’s a hard, high hill to climb. I’ll never get over it, never. She was an angel.” This (broken) heart of the film doesn’t stand images, the screen goes black. The film opens with L’Heure exquise (1890) in which Reynaldo Hahn sets to music Paul Verlaine’s homonymous poem (1870) about the onset of night. “Rêvons, c’est l’heure / Let us dream, it is the time.”

© Light Cone

Phil Solomon

Nocturne

Just like Apichatpong injects the notion of home with an air of menace, Solomon blends in this early breakthrough film the lights and shadows of the neighbourhood around his house with footage of night bombings from World War II, and so seamlessly that the lights of the explosions seem to grow directly out of his more “mundane” images. Long exposure times render visible things that couldn’t otherwise be photographed. Time-lapse images show stars moving in the dark. A shadowy figure apparently throwing stones into water is followed by white dots of artillery tracers receding into the depths of the night sky; the movements are matched, as if one leads to the other. This creates a disturbing yet compelling vision of suburban anxiety and the historical memories that haunt the night.

© Canyon Cinema

Apichatpong Weerasethakul

My Mother’s Garden

FR/TH • 2007 • 7' • colour • silent • digital

Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Blue

FR/TH • 2018 • 12' • colour • digital

Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Phantoms of Nabua

DE/TH/GB • 2009 • 11' • colour • digital

Phil Solomon

The Secret Garden

US • 1988 • 17' • colour • silent • 16mm

Phil Solomon

The Exquisite Hour

US • 1989/1994 • 14' • colour • 16mm

Phil Solomon

Nocturne

US • 1980/1989 • 10' • b&w • silent • 16mm