09 20 Oct '24

The uncompromising cinema of Cis Bierinckx

25 Sep 2008
He once jotted down the following reminder to himself: "No stars. No happy endings. Only time". The perfect way to describe Cis Bierinckx's selection for A Look Apart. With this quirky programme, film fans get a thought-provoking alternative to the usual commercial blockbusters and mindless action movies that have long plagued the silver screen.

A Look Apart casts a critical glance on film as an art form, providing a forum for discussion on culture, aesthetics, people and society. The selection forces viewers to take a stand as they engage with the work and try to decipher the connection between content and image. And it's not just for intellectual snobs and art house junkies, either. A Look Apart speaks to the adventurous film-goer lurking inside us all. Without pulling emotional strings, it gets to the heart of what film making is all about: the interaction between text, image, sound, narrative and montage. Year after year, as new directors come out of the woodwork, we gain deeper insight into the artistic passion, optimism, grit and determination it takes to make an independent film. We applaud these film makers for daring to try experimental techniques, for shunning the conservative doctrines and dogmas that blockbuster hits are made of. Lake Tahoe, the opening film, is an excellent example of this fresh approach to film making. Not surprisingly, it was one of the highlights of this year's Berlin film festival. The improvisational Ballast and the off-the-wall The Guatemalan Handshake prove once again that spirited independent cinema is alive and kicking. A Look Apart also features shorts by highly original animators Bill Plympton and Suzanne Pitt, as well as the works of Wayne Wang and Amos Poe, the spiritual fathers of independent film. In addition to fiction, American indie film makers have consistently delighted us with hard-hitting documentaries; Must Read After My Dead, a disconcerting family saga, and Profit Motive And The Whispering Wind, an experimental counter-history by John Gianvito, will certainly not disappoint. In another set of documentaries, we discover little-known facts about the Israeli military presence in the occupied Palestinian territories. A Look Apart also showcases art, artists and art film. With the minimalistic black-and-white films of Karl Kels, viewers can discover anew the extraordinary potential of cinema as a visual language. Piotr Uklanski's visually spectacular Summer Love, dubbed the first ever Polish Western, is conceptual art at its best. Another must-see is the portrait of the colourful life and times of post-punk cult writer Kathy Acker. This year, in the vintage category, A Look Apart will be dusting off the little-seen true crime masterpiece The Honeymoon Killers by one-time director Leonard Kastle. Small in scale and realistic in style, this chilling film is charged with piercing intelligence and amazing intensity. A forgotten gem from the archives of cinema history. A Look Apart is designed to spark debate. Viewers are cordially invited to share their reflections at the A Look Apart film discussion.

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