Once was Fire
What is it the work of these three filmmaker-couples has in common? Perhaps it is passion, the burning desire to craft a cinema of their own, against the grain, against the void, a desire inscribed in every form, always staring right back at us. Perhaps it is attention, a constant consideration for all things equal : the beauty of the moving wind in the trees, the sounds of words spoken, the splendour of the world we don’t care to see in life. Perhaps it is grace, the generosity of artisans meticulously plying their trade, echoing an epoch when cinema and art were not the big words they have become. Perhaps it is risk, the painstaking chance they take in every image, at each moment risking their lives for a look, a sigh, a gesture. Perhaps it is soul, the broken soul of Southern Europe, this ancient theatre of memory where everything is haunted by ghosts of past and future, this land of lost dreams where all and nothing is horizon. Perhaps it is dream, the clarity of an age-old dream reawakening something that has been stifled, forgotten, annulled, in defiance of the storm of progress blowing from paradise. Perhaps it is love, the tender care for people and places, where everyone and everything has a name, where time is suspended and multiplied, inventing new capacities for framing our daunting present. Perhaps, when all is said and done, it is persistence, and the burdensome solitude of those who know all is lost, putting everything at stake to catch a glimpse of a fire that once was.
In collaboration with the Royal Belgian Film Archive, with many thanks to Cinemateca Portuguesa, Greek Film center, Cineteca di Bologna, Barbara Ulrich and Pedro Costa. Texts on these filmmakers can be found on www.diagonalthoughts.com. In the framework of “FIgures of DIssent (Cinema of Politics, Politics of Cinema)” (KASK/HoGent).