Wednesday, February 14, 2001

Media City 7 International Festival of Experimental Film and Video

Posted By on Wed, Feb 14, 2001 at 12:00 AM

The vamp from Deco Dawson's Film(knout).
  • The vamp from Deco Dawson's Film(knout).

Do you ever get tired of the hugely budgeted drivel that continually emanates from Hollywood, or wonder if the possibilities for film and video can exceed what generally meets the eye? If so, check out the Media City 7 International Festival of Experimental Film and Video, February 14-17 at the Capitol Theatre in Windsor. Sponsored by Artcite, Inc., an artist-run center for contemporary art, and Windsor’s own film and video collective, House of Toast, the event kicks off at 6 p.m. tonight. It begins with a retrospective screening and discussion of Helsinki artist Eija-Liisa Ahtila’s work, which explores issues of identity, desire and gender through blending the visual vocabularies of advertising and fiction.

Other festival offerings include Film(knout) by Winnipeg’s Deco Dawson, a psychologically dark, poetic meditation in black-and-white that looks like a surrealist film from the 1920s and features a tragic vamp clad in a black slip engaged in a Herculean struggle with a length of rope.

From the German collective known as “Chicks with Bolexes” comes Dagmar Brundert and Ramona Welsh’s Six Astronauts, in which six tiny plastic astronauts embark upon an expedition across a strange alien terrain that turns out to be an ordinary kitchen. Then Torontoans Leslie Peters and Tasman Richardson serve up analog vs. digital, a flickering, kinetic display of abstract patterns accompanied by a rhythmic, percussive sound track of signal distortion.

Parisian filmmaker and author Nicolas Rey will be on hand to present his Opera Mundi, an hourlong, three-screen projection/performance that involves manipulation of the projectors and overlapping images. In his comments about Opera Mundi, Rey says, “the subject doesn’t matter. Grab moments of reality; follow your desires without judging the coherence of the whole. Wander. Trust the pictures and the sounds.”

Local participants include Detroiter Tim Caldwell and his collaborator, Chicagoan Mark Hejnar. These filmmakers have scavenged circus footage shot sometime in the 1940s. When they discovered that it was damaged, they achieved their effects by damaging it even more.

From films by habitués of the Berlin underground to artists featured in the Venice Biennale, from the Parisian avant-garde to erotica from Kazakhstan, the Media City 7 International Festival offers the alternative that optically adventurous filmgoers have been waiting for.

Show times are 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday, with tickets $6 per night. Each program is unique and features approximately eight to 12 short works. Related events include video installations in the galleries next door and afterparties showcasing electronic music along with more images.

Showing exclusively at the Capitol Theatre (121 University Ave. West, Windsor — just two blocks from the tunnel). Call 519-977-6564 or check www.netcore.ca/~hot.

E-mail Deborah Hochberg at letters@metrotimes.com.

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