Cineuropa: The 26 th edition of the Astra Film Festival has ended. What would you consider to be the strong points of this edition? A movie with a running time of minutes, made entirely from archive footage, in which the soundtrack is the only intervention by the director, proved to be the right choice for us. In State Funeral , Loznitsa plays with both the conventions of cinema and the expectations of the audience: the audience is allowed to get lost among archive-footage sequences and is also left to interpret what they see according to their own background and personal perspective.
This example of documentary cinema could not have been imagined by any screenwriter and would have been impossible to make within the conventions of fiction cinema. And the film worked well for the audience gathered to attend the opening of this edition.
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Out of the ten films in the international competition, seven were directed or co-directed by women. The same goes for the Central and Eastern European competition, where as many as seven pictures were directed by women. Do you think documentary is more welcoming of a feminine perspective, perhaps because the essence of the genre is empathy towards others? I would say empathy is only one component, albeit of paramount importance, of the creative process.
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Of the same importance in documentary filmmaking are dissecting a social phenomenon, like you would with a scalpel, and exploring it through cinema. Besides the four official competitions, Astra also explores the most pressing issues of the present in several thematic sidebars. These thematic sidebars are quite flexible. Could you describe the process behind deciding on their specific topics?
Most of the time, the idea for a certain thematic sidebar pops up as soon as we watch a film during the selection process.
We encounter several good movies exploring various aspects of the same issue. Obviously, we also encounter anniversaries of important historical events — for example, the three decades since the fall of the Iron Curtain. I take a deliberately aesthetic and sensorial approach to bring additional wellbeing to the audience.
She lives and works in Lisbon. She has exhibited regularly since the mids. She was the first woman and the youngest artist to exhibit at the Palace of Versailles, in Trained in the techniques of ceramics, very eraly on he associates the interior to his personal work, an image recurring in all of his work. His work develops an interest in architecture, construction and the broader theme of receptacles, structured by the binary opposites of full and empty, form and counter-form, elevation and collapse, convex and concave, mineral and organic.
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His most recent works evolving between anthropomorphism and abstraction, are part of the tradition of simple shapes of sculptors who have been able to mark the modern history of La Borne. Set in a space and installed on the ground, these sculptures act as the protagonists of a silent piece reminiscent of the monoliths of a constantly changing landscape.
Never frozen, it is always likely to be reconfigured or connected to other objects or foreign organic elements. This self-taught painter and sculptor developed a passion for architecture, Bauhaus, and De Stijl art movements as from the age of He began painting under the influence of those he admired, such as Piet Mondrian and Le Corbusier; then quickly he discovered the works of Mark Rothko and Pierre Soulages, as well as those of Constantin Brancusi.
Artists who fascinate him by the apparent simplicity of their achievements, both in the choice of shapes, colors, as proportions.
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He thus naturally creates his universe, marked by a single will: aesthetics. Considering art as a research laboratory, and setting no boundaries in the use of materials, he plays with them by adapting to the constraints they impose on him. It is a lifelong learning process that allows him to develop new processes that he is constantly improving.
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For more than 20 years, he will produce works without ever showing them … Then in , he finally decides to expose his work and share his passion with the greatest number. The concrete works of David Umemoto stand as studies about volume. At the juncture of sculpture and architecture, these miniature pieces evoke temporary buildings or monuments standing on far-away lands.
The images conveyed in the mind by these works are numerous. They refer to the archaic and the ephemeral, despite the solidity and the modernity of the medium. Appearing before our eyes are pre-Columbian rock dwellings, god statues from the Andes or Easter Island, steles deteriorated by rain, remnants of modern cities having survived a cataclysm, fragments of Babylonian cities, colonial settlements brought down to their foundations, cenotaphs abandoned in the jungle….
The creative process seeks to imitate the cycles of nature, which are cycles of erosion and re-creation. Lines shift, change and are in a state of perpetual mutation due to the influence of time and weather. The natural architectures of geological strata and crystals stand as models: They inspire the design of the moulds in which the concrete is cast.
The ductile and infinitely adaptive nature of the material enables the production of objects that are both similar and different. The development of the works is thoughtful and iterative yet it makes room for improvisation, adaptation, and spontaneous inspiration. The shapes created by Umemoto line up in sequences of combinatorial variations. Each work offers a different face but these faces all belong to the same lineage. The pressure of modernity imposes on man the obligation to evolve constantly, which leads him into an endless race towards technological improvement.
As an artist, Umemoto chooses to react by taking a step backwards. His manual activities result from a desire to simplify artistic practice. Aesthetics and formalism are thus combined with a commitment to plainness. Opting for a low-tech stance, the artist wants to resist the demands of progress. He creates structured and modular pieces but these never perfectly fit together, a result of their willingly imperfect mode of production.
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