Courtisane festival 2015
Cinema, and its world of appearances shimmering in front of our eyes – isn’t it meant to sweep us away to another world, where we can dream of being someone different? Perhaps, but we also like to think that there is more to cinema than what meets our eye. What we find before us is not a portal to unknown destinies. The screen remains a surface, yet it is one that allows a process of exchange between what we get to see and what we come to remember: the sounds and voices we hear, the dreams and hopes we foster, the apparitions before us and indeed, the world around us. We all hear, see, feel and ‘understand’ a film in as far as we compose it into our own cinematic poem.
Are not the films in this festival programme, in their various forms and shapes, meant to add up to some unique proposition? Perhaps, but we also like to think there is more to this festival than what we literally see in it. We are always en route towards something that never stops taking shape.
There are, of course, some silhouettes and outlines that can be discerned, and associations that can be made, for example, between the work of Pedro Costa and that of Thom Andersen, who come from different backgrounds but seem to have so much in common; between Andersen’s Los Angeles Plays Itself and the films of the L.A. Rebellion movement which feature in it; between Paul Robeson’s singing voice in Charles Burnett’s Killer of Sheep and his appearance in Oscar Micheaux’s Body and Soul, which is here infused with new life by William Hooker’s drums; between Costa’s Horse Money and the music of Jakob Ullmann, both of whom owe a great deal to Olivier Messiaen. But these are just some of the countless possible connections – or disconnections – that can be made in the context of this programme. To each his or her own resonances, as to each his or her own poem.
So here we are, amongst this collection of poems, in the midst of this chamber of resonances. And as we are all here, perhaps we can ask ourselves: what is it that we can do together?