Contact Film Series
Curated by Renée Green
Offsite: Strosacker Auditorium, Case Western Reserve University
2125 Adelbert Road, Cleveland
In conjunction with Contact, an exhibition conceived and organized by Renée Green for moCa Cleveland as part of FRONT International 2022, the artist has curated a film series expanding on the exhibition’s exploration of the poetics of relation.
Beginning with the 1997 film Contact, an inspiration for the exhibition and a lens through which to interpret it, the series is an essential component of Green’s project. The series, screened in Case Western Reserve University’s Strosacker Auditorium, includes a wide breadth of films by Green, her peers, and filmmakers who have been influential to the artist’s practice.
Contact, 1997 Film Still. Courtesy Warner Bros.
Tuesday, Aug 16, 2022, 7PM
1997 Director: Robert Zemeckis
Dr. Eleanor Arroway has spent her life searching for truth in the study of radio astronomy. Palmer Joss has spent his life searching for truth through faith in God. When Eleanor discovers a stunning message from an extraterrestrial intelligence, they are forced to challenge their own assumptions. In the inevitable first contact, will humankind be able to find a compromise between science and belief?
Ash is Purest White, 2018. Film Still. Courtesy the artist
Tuesday, Aug 30, 2022, 7PM
Ash is Purest White
2018 Director: Jia Zhangke
Opening in 2001 in Datong, a former coal mining town, Bin was a mob gangster of Jianghu and when the leader was dethroned he takes over. Qiao loves Bin very much and one day to save Bin from henchmen she uses his pistol and fires it fakely. She gets arrested and imprisoned for 5 years, never being visited by Bin. When she is released she reaches out to Bin who has no interest for Qiao and is in love with another girl. 16 years later she gets a call from Bin who is in need of moral support.
The Stuart Hall Project, 2013. Film Still. Courtesy the artist
Tuesday, Sep 6, 2022, 7PM
The Stuart Hall Project
2013 Director: John Akomfrah
Stuart Hall is one of the most influential and esteemed cultural theorists of a generation. A thinker and commentator, his peers include other giants of political commentary such as Noam Chomsky, Susan Sontag, Alan Ginsberg, Michel Foucault and Gore Vidal. The Stuart Hall Project takes the viewer on a roller coaster ride through the upheavals, struggles and turning points that made the 20th century the century of campaigning, and of global political and cultural change.
Tuesday, Oct 4, 2022, 7PM
Mariner of the Mountains
2021 Director: Karim Aïnouz
Filmmaker Karim Aïnouz decides to take a boat, cross the Mediterranean and embark on his first journey to Algeria. Accompanied by the memory of his mother, Iracema, and his camera, Aïnouz gives us a detailed account of the journey to his father's homeland; from the sea crossing to his arrival in the Atlas Mountains in Kabylia—a mountainous region in northern Algeria—to his return. The film interweaves present, past and future.
Interface, 1995. Film Still. Courtesy the artist
Tuesday, Oct 18, 2022, 7PM
1995 Director: Harun Farocki
Harun Farocki was commissioned by the Lille Museum of Modern Art to produce a video about his work. His creation was an installation for two screens that was presented within the scope of the 1995 exhibition The World of Photography. The film Interface (Schnittstelle) developed out of that installation. Reflecting on Farocki's own documentary work, it examines the question of what it means to work with existing images rather than producing one's own, new images. The German title plays on the double meaning of "Schnitt", referring both to Farocki's workplace, the editing table, as well as the "human-machine interface", where a person operates a computer using a keyboard and a mouse.
2017 Director: Renée Green
Commissioned by the Walker Art Center and conceived as a “film as a conversation,” Green’s ED/HF is a cinematic meditation on lived experience, writing, film, and ongoing becomings. On its surface, ED/HF could be described as a double portrait of Green, and artist and filmmaker Harun Farocki. But ED/HF’s primary focus is guided less by a binary comparison of these two personas, and more by the pair’s personal experiences of migration and the legacies of displacement that have affected both the artists and their work.
ED/HF, 2017. Film Still. Courtesy the artist
D'Est, 1993. Film Still. Courtesy the Chantal Akermann Foundation
Tuesday, Sep 20, 2022, 7PM
1993 Director: Chantal Akermann
Following the demolition of the Berlin Wall, Chantal Akerman captures the reality and mutation of former Soviet territories, shot from summer through to winter in a series of traveling shots or with a static camera.
A New England Document, 2020. Film Still. Courtesy the artist
Tuesday, Nov 1, 2022, 7PM
The Memory Album
2014 Director: Cinematic Migrations Workshop
In 2012, Renée Green initiated in MIT a research project, Cinematic Migrations, which is still ongoing; to launch it, she invited John Akomfrah and Lina Gopaul from Smoking Dogs Film for a series of concentrated week-long visits during 2012-2014.
In Akomfrah and Gopaul’s last visit, a short film was collaboratively produced, The Memory Album. Workshop participants provided moving image materials, texts, photographs, as well as sound recordings, not knowing what would become of all that was “thrown into the pot.” The process of making the film unfolded while the film was being woven together in the editing suite.
Made of disparate materials, including an interview with an MIT professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, The Memory Album enacts a collective and active process of thinking, feeling, and sharing, while simultaneously attesting to the power of cinema to render memories into dream-like sequences, in relation to an ever-continuous material present.
Cinematic Migrations Workshop:
Files and Sources: Lawrence Barriner II, Luke Chellis, Free Agent Media, Adi Hollander, Mary Jirmanus, Maggie Jordan, Ryan Kuo, Soyoung Kwon, Anne Macmilan, Ian Soroka, Ziyin Zhou
Montage: Madeleine Gallagher, Mary Jirmanus, Ryan Kuo, Soyoung Kwon, Ian Soroka
Interviews: Professor Matthew A. Wilson, Jesal Kapadia
Readings: Lawrence Barriner II, Renée Green, Joan Jonas, Jesal Kapadia
Text: Henry Dumas, ZZ Parker
Animateurs: Renée Green, John Akomfrah, Lina Gopaul, Javier Anguera, Free Agent Media, Smoking Dogs Films, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Program in Art, Culture, and Technology
Additional support: MIT Center for Art, Science and Technology, School of Architecture and Planning
© Cinematic Migrations Workshop
A New England Document
2020 Director: Che Applewhaite
Using found footage with selected images and text from The Marshall Collection at Harvard University’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, A New England Document reconstructs the genocidal impulses of two ethnographers’ photographic encounters in the Kalahari Desert, Namibia, from the perspective of its suppressed stories. The filmmaker, a Black international student at Harvard, and their daughter, New-York-Times-bestselling writer Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, give voice in fragmentary counterpoint upon sounds of archival ghosts.
Faasla (Distance), 2020. Film Still. Courtesy Priya Sen & Nicolás Grandi
Tuesday, Nov 15, 2022, 7PM
An Evening of Film Shorts
Programmed by Suneil Sanzgiri
Priya Sen & Nicolás Grandi, Faasla (Distance), 2020
Bassem Saad, Congress of Idling Persons, 2021
Akosua Adoma Owusu, Pelourinho: They Don't Really Care About Us
Natasha Raheja, A Gregarious Species, 2021
Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich, Spit on the Broom, 2019
Golden Jubilee, 2021. Film Still. Courtesy the artist
Friday, Nov 18, 2022, 7PM
At Home but Not at Home
2019 Director: Suneil Sanzgiri
In 1961, 14 years after India gained independence from Britain, the Indian Armed Forces defeated the last remaining Portuguese colonizers in the newly formed state of Goa. Sanzgiri's father was 18 at the time, and had just moved away from his small village of Curchorem to Bombay for school when news reached him about his home—now free from the oppression of a foreign hand after 450 years of colonial rule. After spending years thinking about questions of identity, liberation, and the movement of people across space and time, Sanzgiri returned to this period in search of moments of anti-colonial solidarity across continents.
Letter from Your Far-off Country
2020 Director: Suneil Sanzgiri
A search for solidarity in the sounds and colors of the spontaneous Muslim women led Shaheen Bagh movement in Delhi, in the poetry of Agha Shahid Ali, the song of Iqbal Bano, the theater of Safdar Hashmi, and images of B. R. Ambedkar—the radical anti-caste Dalit intellectual and founder of the Indian constitution—all surrounding a letter addressed to the filmmaker’s distant relative Prabhakar Sanzgiri, who wrote biographies of Ambedkar and was a Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader in Maharashtra.
2021 Director: Suneil Sanzgiri
What is liberation when so much has already been taken? Who has come for more? Golden Jubilee, the third film in a series of works about memory, diaspora and decoloniality, takes as its starting point scenes of the filmmaker’s father navigating a virtual rendering of their ancestral home in Goa, India, created using the same technologies of surveillance that mining companies use to map locations for iron ore in the region. A tool for extraction and exploitation becomes a method for preservation. The father, sparked by a memory of an encounter as a child, inhabits the voice of a spirit known locally as Devchar, whose task is to protect the workers, farmers, and the once communal lands of Goa. Protection from what the filmmaker asks? Sanzgiri’s signature blend of 16mm sequences, 3D renders, direct animation, and desktop aesthetics are vividly employed in this lush, and ghostly look at questions of heritage, culture, and the remnants of history.
Greetings from Free Forests, 2018. Film Still. Courtesy the artist
Tuesday, Dec 6, 2022, 7PM
Greetings from Free Forests
2018 Director: Ian Soroka
Underground resistance is made literal in Ian Soroka’s debut feature, which excavates the buried histories of the Partisan Liberation Front, who resisted the Fascist occupation of Yugoslavia during World War II. Through rich landscape cinematography, haunted archival images, and the vivid testimonials of local hunters, foresters, tour guides, and historians, the film traces the hidden historical currents beneath Southern Slovenia’s verdant terrain, exploring cave hideouts, quarries, archaeological sites, unmarked graves, and even a subterranean bunker that became a film archive. Winner of DocLisboa’s Lisbon City Grand Prix.
Those That, at a Distance, Resemble Another, 2019. Film Still. Courtesy the artist
Tuesday, Dec 20, 2022, 7PM
Those That, at a Distance, Resemble Another
2019 Director: Jessica Sarah Rinland