Lost in Nollywood

text and video by Michele Manfellotto

Dutch multimedia artist duo Sander Breure and Witte van Hulzen made a trip to Lagos to shoot a video on the Nigerian movie industry, the so-called Nollywood, which appears to be second only to Hollywood and Bollywood.

Last week I was in Amsterdam so I got the chance to join Sander and Witte’s “Lost in Nollywood” night hosted by Lost & Found at the SMART Project Space, featuring trailers and clips from popular Nigerian films.

In the curators’ words: “The Nigerian film industry is the third largest in the world, releasing onto the home video market approximately 1,000 movies each year. Movies are produced and marketed in the space of a week: low cost equipment, actors cast the day of the shooting, ?real life? locations. They continue to fascinate audiences; stars are local actors, plots confront the viewer with familiar situations of romance, comedy, witchcraft, bribery, prostitution. The narrative is overdramatic, deprived of happy endings, tragic. The aesthetic is loud, violent, excessive; nothing is said, everything is shouted”.

To get what they are talking about just watch this clip that was screened in the show, a trailer for the movie called “Hitler”:

Apart from the obvious weirdness of the whole thing and the psychedelic taste of some ultra lo-fi film tricks that these movies sport all the time, I was most impressed because what we have here is an unstoppable and definitely original folk experience.

The video above is my private memory of that night, one long take in which a filmmaker and his first actress talk of their lives in cinema.

INCUBI et SUCCUBI – book signing

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September 21 – h.19.00
s.t. foto libreria galleria - via degli ombrellari, 25 - Rome

Incubi et Succubi is the first solo book by the photographer Lele Saveri. Shot be­tween Europe and America, it is a collection of images that draws a path through religion, folklore, obsessions and phobias.

This visual tale combines ancient religious festivals in Sicily, haunted houses in Staten Island, different species of snakes in New Jersey, and the hidden catacombs in the Roman underworld.

The title refers to the Succubus figure that guides the viewer throughout the jour­ney, like in the mythological belief that the demons Incubus and Succubus appear in men and women’s dreams to seduce them—and then to take their souls.

Incubi et Succubi by Lele Saveri is published by Seems Books and edited by Serena Pezzato. The book cover is by Alessandro Maida. 86 pages, hardcover, matte text, B&W plus 8 full color spreads, limited edition 500 copies.

To present the book, Lele Saveri, together with the video-maker Giulia Maria Venturini, have produced a short film titled TO LIE UNDER, a homage to the avant-garde cinema of the 1930s, with original soundtrack by No Age. The short film will be projected during the book signing.

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Rosalind Nashashibi – Carlo’s Vision, (Body habits)

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September  21 – November 25, 2011
Nomas Foundation - Viale Somalia 33, 00199 Roma

Today Nomas Foundation presents Carlo’s Vision, (Body habits), the first institutional solo exhibition in Italy by Rosalind Nashashibi, developed in collaboration with Peep-Hole, Milan.

The exhibition takes the form of a dyptich divided in two venues subtitled respectively Body Habits and Sacred and Profane.

Common element and leading thread of the two exhibitions is the new film Carlo’s Vision commissioned by Nomas Foudation and Peep-Hole and produced by the Stefano and Raffaella Sciarretta Collection. Each location will present one other work relating to the film.

Carlo’s Vision (2011) is a 16mm film based on an episode in the unfinished novel Petrolio by Pier Paolo Pasolini. Petrolio gives us a picture of the Italian contemporary world, a crucial contribution to the understanding of what happened in Italy between the Sixties and the Seventies. The artist moves from the vision of the main character, Carlo. Nashashibi’s intention is not to make the vision as Pasolini described it into a film but rather to shift the vision in today’s context and let it clash with reality. The structure, the main characters and props will be taken from the novel, but the rest will be left to reality and observation. Petrolio was set at the end of the sixties, Nashashibi’s film sets the vision on Via di Tor Pignattara this summer. Carlo perceives reality in a different intensity of time, light and colour to that experienced by the rest of the street. Nashashibi’s film takes a ritual and a vision from outside of time, and drops it into the most ordinary part of the day, creating a friction where the simultaneous realities rub against one another.

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VerniXage

September, 9 – 12, 2011
different venues, Milan

Vernixage, a new film series dedicated to the intersection of film with video art, will be presented into the Milano Film Festival. The latter is gaining importance thanks to more and more video artists using a more formal narrative voice and structure that moves closer to that used in films.

In the last few years, thanks to advancements in technology and the lowered costs of film equipment, the gap between big-budget productions and independent ones has slowly been bridged.

The aim of Milano Film Festival is to provide an audience to these forms of expression and an opportunity to think about possible developments in this genre of film. By gathering filmmakers and screening artists works Vernixage, curated by Davide Giannella, hopes to generate new fields of research and investigation.

Among the others artists (Alterazioni Video, Yuri Ancarani, Francesco Fei, Lech Majewsk, Nathaniel Mellors, Marinella Senatore) Armin Linke will show his new film “Alps”. According to the words of the author:

“Alpi is the result of seven years of research on contemporary perceptions of the landscape of the Alps, juxtaposing places and situations across all eight bordering nations and spanning the territories of four languages. In the film, the Alps are encountered like an island that is connected to various global transformations. We undertook many journeys in the alpine region, which, ironically, led us as far as Dubai. The film shows the Alps as a key location, owing to its delicacy and environmental importance, where one can observe and study the complexity of social, economic, and political relationships. In the Europe of today, the Alps are a hotbed for modernity and its illusions.”

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PIATTAFORMA LUNA a film by Yuri Ancarani

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After the great success of last year and after receiving multiple awards for the movie “Il Capo” (www.ilcapo.it), video artist Yuri Ancarani is back to the Venice Film Festival as a director of the movie “Piattaforma Luna” presented this year within the directors’ section of the festival, “Orizzonti” – a selection of the latests trends in cinematic language.

“Piattaforma Luna” (2011) tells a story of life and dream chasing after one another and constantly merging together, creating dialogic superimpositions and contrasts. The movie is like a science fiction, a tale that stems from the real emotional journey and from the real life experience of six scuba diving technicians who work in deep ocean water.  For several weeks the technicians carry on an off-shore operation aboard the platform Luna, with life shifting in between 100 meters depth under the sea and life in the hyperbaric chamber. This extreme environment does not allow for things to be as they are outside of water. Everything and every action must be reinvented in oder to seem normal. As in his previous movie, Ancarani features common men as protagonists, not heroes, people performing a job, albeit a heavy duty, dangerous one that eventually become just like real heroes. The movie allows the filmmaker to uplift daily life and the invisibile realities such as the one presented into something more sublime and visible.

“I wanted to follow closely such an extreme profession” says director Yuri Ancarani. “For three days we lived under heavy pressure in the hyperbaric chamber together with the divers, only they were like actors to us.

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Black Mirror

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June 20 – September 25, 2011
Deste Foundation Project Space, Slaughterhouse, Hydra Island
For the live theater performance dates click here.

DESTE’s Project Space on the island of Hydra was established in 2009 in the island’s former Slaughterhouse, a mysterious yet evocative site that provides a hyper-charged, unusual exhibition environment. While the space has been recently restored and renovated, it still holds the features and traits of the past, preserving the original elements of its old identity. Since 2009, the space is assigned every summer to a different artist, who is invited to stage a site-specific exhibition.

This year, DESTE is pleased to present Black Mirror by American artist Doug Aitken. Black Mirror explores the story of a nomadic individual, set in a modern wilderness: a geography constructed of calls, electronic messages, and virtual documents superimposed over the physical world.

It is a portrait of people who are the products of a world that has lost track of information and is saturated with change. The characters move in shorthand, they communicate in quick pulses, they travel long distances for short meetings. They depart quickly.

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