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Program Spotlight: Immersion and rejection of reality in Connexions, directed by Cendrine Robelin and Texturas de luz sobre fondo negro, directed by Luis Carlos Rodríguez García

Program 3: Sunday April 10th, 2:30pm
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Connexions, directed by Cendrine Robelin. Synopsis from filmmaker’s website: In the heart of the forest, my intuition guides me. I listen to the vibration of the present moment in the murmur of the trees. I watch the movements between beings, plants, animals and minerals, the time to get in tune. I am absorbed by the cycle of metamorphoses . Nothing is lost, everything is transformed. Let's now remove the hypothesis of a hierarchy between the worlds, ignore the pre-established categories for a few moments. The animal, vegetable and mineral order no longer needs to be separated. The worlds communicate. Everything is related. Let's breathe the essential,the forest is sublime. Let's look at the cooperation between the smallest and the gigantic, at the borders of the invisible, make connections.

Texturas de luz sobre fondo negro (Luminous textures on a black background) Synopsis by filmmaker: This film is part of an audiovisual artistic research project that tries to transfer expressive and emotional concepts to the screen with moving images and, therefore, intentionally lacks formal, narrative and structural aspects. Any resemblance to reality is pure coincidence or a chance accident in the production process.

Program 3 is filled with films that have seemingly disparate approaches: some are explorations of the fragility and emotional power of environments, both natural and man-made, while others are visual abstractions that aim to express and evoke rather than literally represent. These perspectives meet at the intersection of two anchor films: Cendrine Robelin’s Connexions, and Luis Carlos Rodríguez García’s Texturas de luz sobre fondo negro (Luminous textures on a black background)


Connexions is a contemplative journey through a forest, with details fading in and out, fleeting moments lingering for expected lengths. An ethereal, captivating soundscape guides our experience throughout the piece, as we see slow cross dissolves from image to image, transitioning so slowly as to create a new image out of the combined parts. It is a film of metamorphosis, as Robelin writes in the film’s synopsis. The focus is not what was or what will be; instead we behold a never-ending process of becoming. 


There are images in the film where scale is incoherent and unimportant. Big or small, vast or tiny, what is clear about the images is that they are natural, unimpeded, perfect. In a breathtaking moment, a single leaf, presumably suspended by an unseen spiderweb, spins, hovering in place in an impossible way. And yet here it is, undoubtable. Even when the image is mirrored, tilted, or otherwise manipulated, it remains firmly planted in reality.


The film’s imagery drips and oozes, as if we are watching all of the natural world suspended in liquid on a microscope slide. Indeed, the film’s frame is circular rather than rectangular, which induces visual metaphors of the planet, cycles, and eyes within every frame. 


Texturas de luz sobre fondo negro also utilizes a circle motif. The film is punctuated by the repeated expansion of a circular form out of the center of the frame. The shape itself is formed by static-like broken, jagged lines of various colors. The lines are bright and, when they have color, are highly saturated, a clearly exaggerated and unreal hue. The center of the circle is empty and black– a pupil, maybe, or the eye of a storm. 


The lines warble in and out as metallic, resonant tones sustain and modulate. Soon, the lines move, form new shapes, no longer centered on the “eye.” The abstraction is rhythmic but unpredictable; recognizable but unreal. 


From these descriptions, it may seem that the formal elements— circular form, use of sound— are the only similarities between these films. However, both films are grounded by their obsession with reality; Connexions emphasizes the undeniable synergy of natural reality, while Texturas is careful not to combine evocation with representation. In other words, what both films have in common is that they both search our world for perfection. One film finds it by surrendering to the details of Earth; the other finds it by mining emotional synesthesia. In Connexions, we open our eyes to the world; in Texturas, we close our eyes in meditation.


The other films of Program 3 look out or within for answers to life’s questions. Chronicle of the Underground (dir. by Daniel Noreña), Navras (dir. by Marco Huertas), and Hooked On (dir. by Nikola Polic) take visual ethnography as their approach, with echoes of Chris Marker, J.P. Sniadecki, and Stephanie Spray. Poco Allegretto (dir. by Kelly Gallagher), Imagine none of this is real (dir. by Nicole Baker Peterson), A Heap of Broken Images (dir. by Francisco Rojas), and Water Margin (dir. by Grau Del Grau) sit in tranquility of varying degrees of precarity. Valdediós (dir. by Elena Duque), Antipode (dir. by Oliver Folcarelli), and Diminished (dir. by Richard Martin) use different strategies of image manipulation to evocative results. Lastly, Dune (dir. by Gabor Ulrich) and Dustria (dir. by Allison Tanenhaus) lean into abstraction, to very different effects. 

- Billy Palumbo                                  

Connexions, directed by Cendrine Robelin
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