2020 Year of Short Films

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The IPA in Culture Committee wants to make 2020 a Year of Shorts. Every month, we will send you a link to a short film together with a short description and some personal thoughts of appreciation. The shorts will be selected and presented to you by members of the IPA in Culture Committee. Take a few minutes out of your day to watch these short films, and be touched, puzzled, enchanted, intrigued, stirred or inspired. No work is required, no particular meaning attached. It'll just be a private moment of discovery for you.
 
Cordelia Schmidt-Hellerau
Chair of the IPA in Culture Committee 

 

May: Madame Tutli-Putli, by Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski (2007).

Montreal-based filmmakers Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski, award-winning directors, animators, sculptors, collage artists, screenplay writers and art directors, take us on a mysterious, confusing, sometimes exhilarating journey. Madame Tutli-Putli – whose name was borrowed from the title of a 1920 book by polish writer Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz – was nominated for Best Animated Short Film at the 2008 Academy Awards, with a masterful soundtrack by David Bryant and Jean-Frédéric Messier. Madame Tutli-Putli boards a night train with a tail of personal objects: past and present, real and not, familiar and uncanny. Moths pursue her inside and out. Dream, nightmare or... life? Is she leaving? Is she moving? Is she travelling? Alongside characters dressed in costumes based on the iconic work by the German painter George Grosz, Madame Tutli-Putli is a contemplative character whose feelings and emotions seem to run through her skin and expressive eyes. A train ride into the night of Madame Tutli-Putli is what we invite you to, in this ICC’s short of the month May edition. Selected and commented by Cláudia Antonelli, Campinas, Brazil. Available in: Spanish, French and German

February: Felix in Exile ( by William Kentridge, 1994)

To discover the South African artist William Kentridge and his famous animated films, produced by successive charcoal drawings, was for me a magical and transformative experience with art and film alike. Using charcoal, Kentridge explained, allows him to erase and paint over an image while retaining traces of its precursors, thus revealing a mental process like the one Freud described in A Note Upon the 'Mystic Writing Pad' (1925). Kentridge's art, gentle and nightmarish, regards what we would like to disregard: our desire for love and fear of loss bestir ourselves where brutal politics, social injustice, and human suffering pervade our minds, infiltrate our dreams, and pierce our hearts. Looking in the eye of a woman looking at him, Felix, a human being naked to his core, struggles with the flood of disquieting images. He can't or won't erase them, and if they are gone for one moment, they re-emerge in the next, slowly or with a sudden jolt. His exile is his mind. Kentridge once talked about the dismembering of the past, and it struck me that it's complement is remembering, which is putting together what comes to us in bits and pieces. Swaying between the wish to forget and the need to retrieve, our present's song is mournful, elevating one image to submerge it with the next. What is held on a page will fly away, and what appears at night disappears in the day. Selected by Cordelia Schmidt-Hellerau, Boston, February 2020.

April: FISHEYE (1980) by Josko Marusic

During the period of former Yugoslavia (1945-1991), there existed a world-famous group of artists known as the Zagreb School of Animation (1956-1983). One of their masterpieces is FISHEYE (1980) by Josko Marusic. This suspenseful short, created 40 years ago, may seem almost prescient today as we are struggling with the raging coronavirus pandemic. Evoking shock and horror, it confronts us with the power of nature. Like these metaphorical fishermen, we use and abuse our planet and its resources without care or limits. Yet when nature strikes back, we feel helpless. The blackness of the night within comes to the fore in feelings of fright even at home, in the futility of a belated effort to flee, and eventually in empty streets and in the sight of mutilated corpses. The sudden appearance of a mute enemy with its inexorable agression, expressed in the fierce gaze of the fish, is juxtaposed to the pictotial scenery of a small Mediterranean village by the sea. At the end of the film, when day breaks, we are looking from a distance at the silhouette of a now mostly empty, lifeless village. With his unique style of drawing, Marusic (who also skillfuly and cleverly comments in his cartoons on the reality of life in today's Croatia), together with writer Goran Babic and the composer Tomica Simovic (whose dramatic soundtrack reminds us of Hitchcock's films), have created a timeless piece of art, showing us the future reflected in the brilliance of the fisheye. Selected and commented by Stanislav Matacic, Zagreb, Croatia.

January: Tale of Tales by Yuriy Norstein (1979)

A Russian animated short film that will capture your imagination and your hearts. For sure, its imagery and sound resonate beyond national borders and remind us why, and how, art transcends artificial boundaries. This film won awards and is considered by many to be the best animated film ever! I encourage you to watch before reading about Tale of Tales; I did, and still float before its winter, music, dance, half-eaten fallen apples, war, youth, loss, parents, women, lyres, aging, suckling babe, eyes, farewell - light/fire/letters... And all those commonplace animals: cat, fish, rope-skipping bull, crows, wandering wolf who tell us the story of life in their magical transformations that are more than Soviet signifiers...they are the human condition. Selected by Barbara Stimmel, New York, January 2020.

March: Trailer (2010) by Nicola Constantino

This hypnotic and captivating video by the renowned Argentinian artist, Nicola Constantino, a member of the 'Contemporary Art' movement/group, is complemented by an installation with the same name, Trailer. Sameness - duplication, the other - self, 'the double' / 'doppelganger' are figure and 'leitmotif' of the film, revealing the dreams, desires and phantasies of something feminine. Trailer arises from the process of the artist's pregnancy, at age 45, by means of an anonymous donor. Fear of maternity and the unknown are elaborated in her work of art: creating her double she becomes herself a work of art, 'an antidote against loneliness', or 'two bodies with only one soul' vis-à-vis the strangeness (says Nicola). Trailer's literary and cinematographic sources embody Freud's idea of the 'uncanny' as well as the concept of identification. Nicola includes her newborn son in the film and discovers, not only does she no longer need the double, she now sees her as even terrifying. Gripped by fascination and horror, the film might induce us to thinking and feeling...a bit beyond the well-known.   Selected by Gabriela Goldstein, Buenos Aires, March 2020. Español | FrançaisDeutsch