21 Jun 2018
EFS @ Cámara Lúcida
Experimental Film Society (EFS) is a group of filmmakers dedicated to the creation of uncompromisingly personal, formally challenging filmmaking. Based in Dublin, it has succeeded in forging a new and radically alternative Irish cinema. Its defiantly independent vision, both deeply informed by film history and utterly modern, has animated over five hundred shorts and features over its eighteen-year existence. Its films adopt an exploratory approach to filmmaking and foreground mood, atmosphere, visual rhythms, and the often-startling sensory interplay of sound and image. As EFS filmmakers experiment with cinema, they allow it equally to experiment on them, creating richly experiential works that chart an uncomfortable territory that is at once uncannily familiar and utterly alien.
Three EFS programmes are screening at the Cámara Lúcida – Encuentros Cinematográficos film festival in Cuenca, Ecuador from July 25 to August 3, 2018.
EFS founder and director Rouzbeh Rashidi’s Phantom Islands (2018) exists at the boundary of documentary and fiction. Directed with Rashidi’s trademark visual intensity, it follows a couple adrift and disoriented in the stunning landscape of Ireland’s islands. Yet this deliberately melodramatic romance is constantly questioned by a provocative cinematic approach that results in a hypnotic and visceral inquiry into the very possibility of documentary objectivity.
The painterly, visually dense style of Atoosa Pour Hosseini’s short films (2015-2017) emerges from her intricate work on the texture of 8mm. Combining found and original footage, she scratches, dyes and paints the film surface to highlight both the fragility and persistence of the image. These works trace a haunting inner logic of loss, memory and displacement that fluctuates between the personal and the general, the pictorial and the material. Bodies wander, landscapes echo each other and time is unwound through a complex approach to the associations of 8mm with being a medium of the past and of private rather than industrial filmmaking.
Michael Higgins’ eerie and meditative Drifting Cities (2017) shows two actors playing two lovers before meeting death in a car crash. They drift through muddled memories and moments in search of one another. Italian journal CinePensieri calls the film “evanescent in the widest meaning of the term… Is it the cinema that turns into the world or vice versa? In both cases, in Drifting Cities the two elements fuse together to such an extent that it’s difficult to recognise the border between the reality and the medium that represents it”.