All good things must end
Lydia Hance | Frame Dance Productions
The Cinema Arts Festival Houston has come to a close. While I feel fully saturated for the week/end, I can’t help but admit that I became fond of cruising through the weekend looking at the abundant film offerings, picking up my purse and hopping in the car to attend any little thing my heart desired. Did you go? What did you fall in love with? Or what did you not like? I’m going to write about a few things that I saw these past five days.
1. Pina— see below.
2. Myth and Infrastructure held at Talento Bilingue de Houston on Friday evening. The event was an installation slash performance opened by two short films. The live performance pieces/installations were certainly the strongest of the evening despite TBH’s inability to switch the audio output. The audience sat in the dark for a good ten minutes. Needless to say, I found that the film audience of Houston kind and at ease. Comforting. The performance was a mixture of animation projections and the shadow of the creator and performer, Miwa Matreyek. We followed her on two of her surreal, dreamy, journeys that felt like a washing from reality. One of them appropriately named: Dreaming of Lucid Living. However, the stronger of the two was Myth and Infrastructure which had a stronger direction, provided an “un”narrative arc and ended before we had been in her land too long. Did I mention it was funded through a Princess Grace Award? yeah.
3. Held at the Edwards Greenway Palace Stadium, aka a regular commercial movie theater, I saw Here, directed by Braden King. He was all over this festival from his feature length aforementioned film, to an installation at TBH, to a live deconstructed version of his feature length, to the Meet the Makers dialogue. He gave a Q&A after the screening of Here which lasted until after midnight. The screening began at 9:45 pm on a Friday which was a little bit late for me to fully enjoy the beauty and subtlety of his work. In a word: impressive. They filmed over several years in Armenia and the cast spanned from Ben Foster to local Armenians they cast once arriving to shoot. At almost exactly two hours in length, the film follows an Armenian photographer and an American modern-day cartographer, making maps for satellites. The connection between a photographer and a map-maker seems obvious but their discovery of themselves and each other was fresh and real. It is a road trip romance, but one you haven’t seen before. The audience perked at the mention of Sundance, and it’s no surprise why it did so well there.
4. Free Radicals: A History of Experimental Film. I thought this was brilliant, funny, educational. Pip Chodorov made this film for “beginners” he said in the Q&A after the screening, but he certainly didn’t undermine the “advanced” audience, which I could tell by the cinemistas in attendance. We saw excellently shaped interviews with luminaries such as Robert Breer, Michael Snow, Ken Jacobs and Peter Kubelka. And what was most impressive was Chodorov’s personal relationships with them all. There was no air of art aristocracy, but an honest desire to educate the public. Chodorov also manages to weave several short films into the documentary seamlessly. He made avant-garde accessible. And funny. For me, this was the beautiful and unexpected prize of the festival.
I can’t wait for next year. This is truly a gem of Houston. Other cities– be jealous. Houston Art rocks again.