Black Box is the regular experimental strand at Edinburgh International Film Festival, curated by Kim Knowles. It comprises four shorts programmes dealing with the body and technology, journeys and discoveries, ritual and transformation, and matters of the environment, and two feature films. In the context of the Festival’s 70th anniversary, Black Box revisits the 1970s with two retrospective screenings and a special event celebrating one of the most important periods in the history of the Festival.
Black Box Shorts 1: In the Body of Technology
20 June 18.30 - 21 June 21.05
This short experimental film programme reflects on the way technology dialogues with the body, creating a two-way process of transformation. Gestures and movements are broken down and analysed, destabilised and defamiliarised. The physicality of the body meets the material of film and digital, migrating through forms and layers and creating new perceptions and experiences. The screening ends with a live performative intervention that connects the filmmaker, the audience, the filmstrip and the projected image.
- Aw Shucks, Segundo! (Sean Hanley, USA, 2015, 5 min)
- FOOTAGE (Minjung Kim, South Korea, USA, 2015, 3 min)
- KAIROS (Elisa Ribes, Stefano Canapa, France, 2016, 11 min)
- Maschile – Roma (Friedl vom Groller, Austria, Italy, 2015, 3 min)
- The Mess (Peter Burr, USA, 2016, 14 min)
- Numb (Yuka Sato, Japan, 2016, 7 min)
- On the Invention of the Wheel (Richard Tuohy, Australia, 2015, 14 min)
- Orange Trill (G. Anthony Svatek, USA, 2015, 4 min)
- Pending (Bea Haut, UK, 2016, 2 min)
- Un Double Moment de Poche Saturé (Laurent Berger, France, 2015, 5 min)
Black Box Shorts 2: Earthly Matters
20 June 21.05 - 22 June 21.05
An eclectic programme of short films exploring landscape, the environment and the transformation of materials and matter. Shifting from a documentary portrait of an alternative rural community and a dystopian representation of a nuclear disposal site to visual interrogations of nature that slide from figuration to abstraction, these works invite us to see the world in new ways. In the age of the Anthropocene, a critical awareness of the planet we inhabit is urgently needed.
- Bending to Earth (Rosa Barba, USA, Germany, 2015, 2015, 15 min)
- DISPORTING WITH A SHADOW (Paul Clipson, USA, 2015, 4 min)
- Fish Point (Pablo Mazzolo, Argentina, 2015, 7 min)
- I Don’t Think I Can See an Island (Christopher Becks, Emmanuel Lefrant, France 2016, 4 min)
- Irradiant Field (Laura Kraning, USA, 2016, 11 min)
- Last Acre (Nick Jordan, Jacob Cartwright, UK, 2016, 11 min)
- Limitless (Stephanie Young, Canada, 2015, 3 min)
- Prima Materia (Charlotte Pryce, USA, 2015, 3 min)
- Primal (Vicky Smith, UK, 2016, 10 min) [with live musical accompaniment]
- Vintage Print (Siegfried A. Fruhauf, Austria, 2015, 13 min)
Black Box 3: Rituals of Transformation and Discovery
25 June 16.40 - 26 June 14.10
This programme consists of five films that take quite different approaches to the theme of ritual, offering the viewer an insight into practices of physical and spiritual transformation. From the masked monkeys of Indonesia to matrilineal tribes in China and Panama, and from documentary to animation, these films bring together the strange and the familiar, the real and the surreal. They demonstrate in profound and moving ways how looking outwards towards the other involves looking inwards towards the self.
- Anóme (Lena Ditte Nissen, Germany, Panama, China, 2015, 13 min)
- The Masked Monkeys (Anja Dornieden, Juan David Gonzales Monroy, Germany, Indonesia, 2015, 30 min)
- Noevus (Samuel Yal, France, 2016, 8 min)
- A Subsequent Fulfilment of a Pre-Historic Wish (Johannes Gierlinger, Austria, 2015, 9 min)
- Toré (João Vieira Torres, Tanawi Xucuru Kariri, Brazil, France, 2015, 15 min)
Black Box 4: Reflections on a Journey
25 June 18.45 - 26 June 16.10
How are travel and discovery recorded and remembered? How can the essence of a journey or encounter be captured and communicated? The films in this programme all deal with moments of displacement and the deconstruction and reconstruction of spaces and places. Filtered through the subjective gaze of the filmmaker, these locations become sites of creative exploration and formal innovation. Featuring Daïchi Saïto’s award-winning Engram of Returning, a mesmerising metaphysical journey with an improvisational score.
- Capital Cuba (Johann Lurf, Austria, Cuba, 2015, 12 min)
- Elli (Esther Urlus, Netherlands, 2016, 8 min)
- Engram of Returning (Daïchi Saïto, Canada, 2015, 19 min)
- Here There (Alexander Stewart, Croatia, USA, 2015, 5 min)
- In Marfa(Jeremy Moss, USA, 2015, 3 min)
- Lampedusa (Philip Cartelli, Mariangela Ciccarello, Italy, USA, France, 2015, 14 min)
- Roundtrip (Philippe Leonard, Canada, 2014, 3 min)
- Yapi (Aaron Khandros, Nathaniel Draper, Greece, 2015, 9 min)
Sixty Six, Lewis Klahr, USA, 2015, 90 mins
A key figure in the American avant-garde film scene, Lewis Klahr has explored the technique of film collage since the 1970s. His new feature is a culmination of his activity in this area, weaving together materials from advertising and comic books to construct a mysterious story with a retro-noir aesthetic. An epic and imaginative work of archival gleaning that projects us into the dreamscape of a past era.
Tectonic Plate (Mannerlaatta), Mika Taanila, Finland, 2016, 74 mins
22 June 18.00
In a bold and original approach to memory, this Lettrist-inspired film maps an anxiety-ridden plane journey from Tokyo to Helsinki without the aid of photographic images. A variety of interventions on the film strip are combined with an atmospheric sound design to create a subjective story of displacement and containment. In an age when experience is increasingly mediated through digital technologies, Taanila seeks out an alternative language in the sensuous surfaces of the celluloid material.
A series of special events celebrating the 1970s – a pivotal period in the history of the festival. In collaboration with LUX Scotland and co-curated by Isla Leaver-Yap.
Regrouping, Lizzie Borden, USA, 1976, 74 mins
23 June 18.10 - 24 June 20.30
First screened at EIFF in 1976, Borden’s multi-layered film within a film is the highlight of this year’s retrospective focus on the 1970s. It follows the activities of a women’s group, whose political ideals are unraveled and questioned throughout the process of collaboration. The film’s self-reflexive techniques keep the viewer guessing about the relationship between the real and the staged, dismantling the objective foundations of the documentary form. A powerful and rarely seen classic of feminist filmmaking.
Regrouping: Experimental Films from the ‘60s and ‘70s
23 June 20.30 - 25 June 14.35
Revisiting the heyday of avant-garde filmmaking through a selection of canonical classics and rarely screened gems. Tied to Black Box’s focus on the 1970s, this retrospective screening presents works by filmmakers involved in EIFF during this period, either participating directly in the International Forum on Avant-Garde Film or screened between 1976 and 1978 – the crucial years in the festival’s engagement with avant-garde filmmaking. Presented in partnership with LUX Scotland.
- Between the Frames (Sarah Child, UK, 1976, 10 min)
- Breakfast (Michael Snow, Canada, 1976, 17 min)
- Chinese Checkers (Steve Dwoskin, USA, 1964, 13 min)
- Inferential Current(Paul Sharits, USA, 1971, 8 min)
- Key (Peter Gidal, UK, 1968, 10 min)
- New Improved Institutional Quality: In the Environment of Liquids and Nasals a Parasitic Vowel Sometimes Develops, Owen Land, USA, 1976, 10 min
- Rohfilm, Wilhelm & Birgit Hein, Germany, 1968, 20 min
24 June 10.30 – 17.00 Traverse Theatre
As part of its 70th anniversary celebrations, EIFF partners with LUX Scotland to look back at one of the most pivotal moments in the festival’s history and to explore its longstanding relationship with alternative film culture. The 1976 edition of the Festival hosted two momentous events – the Psychoanalysis and Cinema symposium and the International Forum on Avant-Garde Film. Through a series of one-to-one discussions, this daylong event interrogates the relationship between form and politics and seeks out the synergies between then and now. Guests include Lizzie Borden, Laura Mulvey, William Raban, Laura Guy, Isla Leaver-Yap and Sarah Turner. Join us for some healthy debate and stimulating conversation in an intimate context.