Balamos

19 April, 2013 - 18:00
Paddenhoek
In cinema, there is this possibility of what is to come, of a new awakening. There is a possibility of a future existence.

Stavros Tornes is one of the forgotten prophets of cinema, poète maudit steeped in the land of myth and tragedy, companion of all the outcasts of the post-industrial society, of all the vagabonds wandering amid the wreckage of Empire. Always choosing the enchantment of the world, in all its exuberance and intemperance, in the face of the disenchantment of the social, tinted by memories of occupation, civil war and dictatorship. In the handful of films he made with his “alter ego”, Charlotte van Gelder, there is no rift between the real and the surreal; reality and the imaginary flow into each other as if the concrete world were inhabited by ancient animistic forces. In the course of seemingly aimless voyages through space and time, adrift in a dérive through foreign landscapes, we are offered the unexpected wonder of another humanity in its many figures: the return to the origins, the descent to the netherworld, the arrival in the promised land. “Homer operating the camera, Heraclitus recording the sound”, as film critic Louis Skorecki once wrote. A cinema before cinema: primordial, unattainable, mythical. A cinema that makes us whisper, in complete bewilderment, “Where am I?” Not for fear of being lost, but because of the revelation of being in a deep sleep, suddenly awakening, and not knowing what estranged world we have woken up to.

Balamos

Stavros Tornes & Charlotte van Gelder
,
GR
,
1982
,
16mm
,
colour
,
80'

“Balamos is a popular film, though not easy to absorb; it puts forward a passionate, persistent claim to the poetry and dreams which man has earned for himself, in the teeth of all the powers that be. Balamos is about the return to the East, about water and earth, and the anguished concern with freedom. It is a popular fiction, not a populistic, moralistic intrigue. It is firmly situated whithin our culture, but not in a localized, pictureque sense. It is permeated by time, but not by calendar markings. It is both very ancient and very new. It ignores the facilities of photo-romances and seeks out the image. Tornes follows a cinematic line that grows out of one of the shots in Eisenstein's Que viva Mexico. There are underlying emotional repercussions from the work of the Taviani brothers and Straub. The popular quality of a film like Balamos can never be quite accepted in an age that preaches the trade unionist version of freedom. It is a film that any of us could have produced. But the technocrats of the film industry the technicians of authority have deprived us of that ability. All we can do is immerse ourselves in these images, ride Balamos' horse in order to recapture a human right which is only too often ignored or repressed: the right to dream.” (Antonis Moschovakis)