Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Images 2013: Preview

Images Festival

April 11-20, 2013

Have you ever sat down to watch a movie, only to realize five minutes in that you know exactly what's going to happen? What happens when you want to watch something different, to see a movie without the safety net of the familiar? "Expanding cinema since 1988," the Images Festival offers an open-ended series of answers to such inquiries. Whether throwing away conventional narrative structure, the boundedness of story-telling or traditional technical limitations, Images is a declaration of independence from the tried and true. You might walk out now fully understanding what you saw — hell, you might not have liked it all — but you'll usually leave an Images screening with the feeling that you've challenged yourself, exercising mental muscles and critical faculties you hadn't realized you have.

New to the experience? The advice I offered before last year's festival still holds: "To be honest, I really think one method here is simply to look in your datebook, see which evening you're free, and head down to Jackman Hall at the AGO. Get non-linear with it!" While there are some "names" and noteworthy films playing, this material can be approached by anyone with an open mind and a working attention span.

While it's simple to suggest you just settle in to the cozy screening room at AGO's Jackman Hall, I guess I could offer a couple more pointers:

  • Shorts: There are a handful of intriguing-looking feature-length films at the festival (one of which I'll be recommending tomorrow), but experimental film happens to work really well in small doses, where a novel idea or technique can but explored in a concentrated burst. Any one of the half-dozen curated programmes would be a good starting point: you can be assured if something isn't to your liking, there'll be a new experience coming up before too long.
  • you can also keep an eye out for some co-presentations that might line up with your other interests, with local festivals Reel Asian, Inside Out and Planet in Focus among this year's alliances.

Specific film recommendations will start flowing tomorrow, so lets look at some of the exciting things happening outside Jackman Hall:

Live Images

Once again, there are strong reasons for music lovers to come out, with three different shows taking different approaches to live scoring. All are recommended.

  • Opening Night Gala: Tim Hecker/Robert Todd + special guest SlowPitch I'm less familiar with the visual side here, but it looks like electronic music experimenter (and sometimes drone organist) Hecker will be well-matched with the textures of 16mm master Todd. Turntablist/sound collagist Cheldon Paterson's Slow-Pitch project has been moving into some intruiging zones and here premiers Emoralis, a new "live audiovisual piece". (Thursday, April 11, 8 p.m. at St. Anne’s Church. $20)
  • Scoring Cinecycle: Lina Allemano Four, Eucalyptus, Del Bel This year's co-presentation with Wavelength brings together three excellent local outfits to one of the city's finest back-alley spaces "to play along with treasures from the film collection of [Cinecycle] proprietor Martin Heath." (Tuesday, April 16, 9 p.m. at Cinecycle. $15)
  • Closing Night Gala: Alexandra Gelis' Corredor feat. Hamid Drake + David Mott. Gelis' film explores the landscapes of Latin America, while all musical boundaries will be smashed by legendary free-jazz drummer Drake and local saxophonist Mott. (Saturday, April 20, 8 p.m. at St. Anne's Church. $20)

Off Screen

Images is about more than film, and the various talks and art installations are always worth checking out, all the more for the events that are slippery and hard to pin down in such straightforward categories.

  • Film: Rope That title is, perhaps, playfully misleading, as this live performance piece is based around the Hitchcock flick of the same name, but "explores the discontinuities and incongruities between cinema and live performance... [b]y paradoxically attempting to re-embody and transpose the movements and positions of the characters in the film in relation to a live audience." I don't know what that means yet, but I'm looking forward to finding out. (Tuesday, April 16 at 7 p.m. at The Theatre Centre. $10. [additional performances Friday, Saturday, Sunday April 12–14, 3 p.m.])
  • The Wanderer, "a multifaceted film and installation project" looks to take Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis to some new places, musing on "layered ideas of translation and misinterpretation " and subverting cinematic grammar. (April 13–May 4 at Gallery TPW)
  • 0h!m1gas: biomimetic stridulation environment. This project uses an in situ ant farm as the generative force for a sound art installation. Ants on turntables — need I say more? This sounds fabulous — and I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords. (April 13–May 18 at InterAccess)

The fine print: Films are $10 general admission for regular screenings, and there are no service charges if you order online up front. Live events vary as noted above. Full details and schedule at the Images website.

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