She Never Dreams of Places

February 17, 2015
Northwest Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium
Portland, Oregon

Specially curated on behalf of Cinema Project for the 38th annual Portland International Film Festival.

For the 38th annual Portland International Film Festival, Cinema Project curates a program of international short works that delve into personal, familial, and cultural pasts through a variety of formats and modes of experimentation. All works are by contemporary female filmmakers who confront and explore the themes of memory, exile, and home. The memories evoked—explicitly in voice-over or implicitly through texture and tone—are both fresh and distant, revealing the difficulty in going back to, or moving between, physical and psychic spaces. Included formats are HD and 16mm film and techniques vary from collage and found-footage to single-frame shooting.

Sleeping District by Tinne Zenner (Denmark/Russia, 2014, 16mm, color, silent, 11 min.)

Broken Tongue by Mónica Savirón (USA, 2014, 16mm to HD video, color, sound, 3 min.)

Time Being V-VI by Barbara Sternberg (Canada, 14, 16mm, color, silent, 3 min.)

Now Eat My Script by Mounira al Solh (Lebanon, 2014, HD video, color, sound, 24 min.)

Time Being I-IV by Barbara Sternberg (Canada, 2007-14, 16mm, color, silent, 7 min.)

Return to Eole Street by Maria Kourkouta (France, 2013, 16mm, b&w, sound, 14 min.)

Sleeping District by Tinne Zenner:
Outside and interior views of residential areas built during the Soviet Era are juxtaposed with disjointed conversations translated from Russian into a broken English. The film explores notions of home shaped by memory, history, family relations and objects. While related to tangible experiences, it suggests how these inform our imagination.

The narrative of the film is constructed of different conversations I had with residents of the Sleeping Districts. I was often drawn to statements that gave senses of many different, disjointed experiences affecting how people understand what it means to live in a place. My interest lay not so much in exploring whether memories are true or false, but rather in how we think of collective memory and how the present may hold traces of history, family relations and a fallen political ideology in the shapes of physical objects and structures. – Tinne Zenner.

Broken Tongue by Mónica Savirón:
Broken Tongue is an ode to the freedom of movement, association, and expression. It pays homage to the diaspora of the different waves of migration, and challenges the way we represent our narratives. It is a search for a renewed consciousness, for reinvention, a “what if,” the formal equivalent of asking a question expressed with a broken tongue – or not so broken after all. Mainly made with images from the January 1st issues of “The New York Times” since its beginning in 1851 to 2013, Broken Tongue is a heartfelt tribute to avant-garde sound performer Tracie Morris and to her poem “Afrika.” – Mónica Savirón.

Broken Tongue received Jury Honorable Mention at IC DOCS, Iowa City International Film Festival 2014 in Iowa City, Iowa; Jury Special Mention at 18th FIDOCS, International Film Festival 2014 in Santiago, Chile; and First Prize Best Film/Short at I FRONTEIRA International Documentary & Experimental Film Festival 2014 in Goiânia, Brazil.

Mónica Savirón is a Spanish filmmaker who has worked as a film writer, editor, and programmer. Her essays have been published internationally. She directed a weekly radio show on documentary and experimental films in Madrid for ten years. In New York, she has worked on the legacy of experimental filmmaker Beryl Sokoloff; with preservationist and artist Bill Brand; and as creative associate, archival researcher, and assistant editor of the IDFA Grand Prize film, First Cousin Once Removed (2012). 

Time Being I-VI by Barbara Sternberg:
“Brief moments of being, fleeting bits of the surrounding chaos.” The series started in 2007 and now includes six one-to-two minute films that gather snippets of Sternberg’s life. Through these flickers of nature, bodies, scratches, and images in negative, the quickly-paced silent 16mm films convey the changing personal and interior world of the artist.

Barbara Sternberg has been making (experimental) films since the mid-seventies. Her films have been screened widely in North America and Europe in artist-run centres and galleries, including the prestigious Museum of Modern Art in New York, George Pompidou Centre in Paris, and Ontario Cinematheque in Toronto. Her films are in the collections of Queen’s University, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the National Gallery of Canada. Sternberg has also participated in gallery exhibitions with mixed media installations, performance art and videos. She was co-founder of Struts gallery in Sackville, New Brunswick, was a founding member of Pleasure Dome: Film Artists Exhibition Group in Toronto, and taught in Film and Visual Arts at York University.

Now Eat My Script by Mounira al Solh:
Now Eat My Script is a precipice, a fluid solution in which some spectral noises-of-the-self float adrift. Narration takes the role of a pregnant writer who continuously affirms her hunger and clumsiness towards language and history. Her body is crossed over by both the years to come and the stories that have been buried. As a would-be pirate, she navigates through the tumult of familiar waters.

A faltering, yet seemingly omniscient text roams among cities, and between memories that cannot find a proper place, or a proper fiction: After Eight chocolates, children’s group showers, a yellow car that resembles a Dodge, or a pigeon rock where men kill themselves become the phantom limbs of the sacrificed visceral body of speech and story-telling that surrounds them. Now Eat My Script is about knowing disastrously.” – Arnisa Zeqo, rongwrong 2014.

Return to Eole Street by Maria Kourkouta:
Insignificant fragments, reworked, reassembled, slowed down, put in loops, of Greek popular movies of the 50s and 60s. These fragments are accompanied by short extracts of poems written by Greek authors and by Manos Hadjidakis’ music. It is a found footage movie, a collage which evokes a return journey to contemporary Greece, in the center of Athens. –Light Cone.

Maria Kourkouta was born in 1982, in Greece. After four-year anthropology studies in Greece, she attended post-graduate cinematography studies in Paris. Today, she is in the fifth year of PhD studies, working on rhythm in the cinema. In parallel to her theoretical studies, she is making films and has been member of associations of independent cinema.