Many years ago, Bernardo Bertolucci, on a visit to Canada, was asked what he thought of the movie industry in this country. He confessed he did not know much about it but he felt that this would be a good place to make science-fiction films. « All that space, all those landscapes like white pages waiting to be filled with strange stories. This is a place where the Possible is alive. »
Thirty years later his vision has been confirmed by a news bulletin we just plucked from the Rabble online edition. It comes from the future.
… A bunch of kids from Pangnirtung, Nunavuut, just won the first prize at the 22nd International Animation Film contest held in La Paz Bolivia. The film was made by adapting the principles of clay animation to the latest 3D printer developments which work 123 times faster than the original models. The whole community took part of the process. Inuit sculptors and graphic artists created the characters imagined by the youngsters. Eighty five people kept feeding the Motion3D printers with hardened snow which was speedily sculpted, filmed and edited to the rate of 67 seconds of finished product a day. The eternal Shaman transformation story is told once again, but with such power and grace that people from diverse parts of the world recognize themselves in it. The well known Inuit musician Ooglalaak composed the score in Paris where he is on a five year contract with L’orchestre Symponique du Vieux Monde.
…. A musician descendant of chilean immigrants, Zenaida Rodriguez, 87, joined forces with the recluse conceptual artist Pete Zwonyck, 42, from Alberta to create the exhilarating ¿-N-A-D-A-C-Á-? a film who some have called « opiate-induced-romp-through-the-brain » . « Every time I hear that Canada is boring I feel like getting the old carabina out », said the sprite Zenaida. The film is created exclusively with letters of different sizes, shapes and colors « plus some subliminal images which will remain unknown » says Zenaida, the tandem’s spokeperson. It produces a trance-like stupor which can last for days, in the form of flashes. People who suffer from epilepsy are to abstain. « The spanish sonorities of Canada bring to mind words like « Acá » here, « Nada » nothing. Playing with them they could sound like « There is nothing here. Nothing? Acá? Au contraire. » The brightly colored letters in the words Boring, Acá, Nada, Rien, Ici, Nothing, Bland, Blank, and others which we could not identify, flash on the screen with rythms and patterns which seem haphazard at first but gradually start making sense reaching a musical crescendo at which climax most people in the theater start to shout. «An intellectual orgasm » said one of the viewers.
Nothing here? Acá? Wrong again.
… A short scientific film made in Saskatoon is the surprise of the season. It tells the story of the decay process of a subatomic particle called a kaon and in the process helps us understand how the universe began. Thanks to the support of the Perimeter Institute, the venerable scientific institution which made available the information gleaned by its supercomputers, the screen becomes a captivating blackboard where the hardest concepts become crystal clear. “We are closer to answering fundamental questions about how matter formed in the early universe and why we, and everything else we observe today, are made of matter and not anti-matter,” says Dr. Ai Ogh.
A kaon is a particle far smaller than an atom. The scientists followed the decay process as the kaon split into two pions, even smaller particles. The length of the decay process spanned nearly 18 orders of magnitude, a range equivalent to the difference between the size of a single bacterium and the size of our entire solar system.
The difference between matter and anti-matter in kaon decay will either confirm the present theory or perhaps, point to a new understanding of physics.
… The schedule of the only movie house where the exclusive Grind the Ground Grunge Film Festival explodes every year has been extended by two weeks. « The Cronenberg Malignancy » is playing to a full house 24/7, du jamais vu. The film’s concept is simple to explain but the experience of viewing it, well…. It all starts in a garage where a mad scientists works day and night oblivious to the fact that his tools are alive! Lurking in the shadows all sort of instruments copulate, often cruelly, in the most grotesque and organic ways imaginable. Unknown and often repellent substances ooze out of the them, brief glimpses offer a repugnant view of their innards. « The author should be sent to a psychiatric hospital, offered a critic, along with all of those who enjoy this kind of nauseous detritus. » All we can say is that there must be a lot of sick people in Toronto. If you are tempted bring a bag, like the ones in airplanes, just in case. Sex, violence and foul cinema language.
… Our brains have evolved. The proof? We had no trouble watching the latest Remi Leblanc film, « Six temps Tipaaikin » loosely translated as Six time zones. A screen is vertically divided in six strips and each one of them tells a different story. The Imax theater provides the glasses which add the subtitles to the strip wherever your eyes rest for more than one second. Adding strain to effort the film plays in four different languages, two of them aboriginal. Those who resist the first impulse to run out of the theater are soon rewarded. Slowly but surely the stories start to take shape and soon we are able to jump from one to the other with little effort. The secret is not on the image but on the remarkable sound tracks : each one is textured to create a subtle contrast to the others. What is even more remarkable is the fact that each story is of a different genre, including a documentary. One is a comedy; set in Attawapiskat, it tells the story of a native lawyer returning to his roots.
All those years of multi-tasking are finally paying off. For those who distrust receiving films directly into their brains – the latest urban craze- this could be an opportunity to go beyond normal boundaries without having to become a cyborg.