Cineinfinito #15: Josephine Massarella

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Average: 4.7 (9 votes)

Josephine Massarella is an independent filmmaker based in Hamilton. Her award winning shorts have screened world-wide. Her previous films include No End; Light Study; Night Stream; Green Dream; Interference; No5 Reversal; and One Woman Waiting. She is working on her latest 16mm film, Untitled. Josephine has a Master of Arts – Integrated Studies in Cultural Studies from Athabasca University, a graduate certificate in Advanced Film and Television from Sheridan College, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in film at the University of British Columbia. Josephine also teaches cinema studies.

- One Woman Waiting (1984, 16mm, sound, colour, 9:00)
“One Woman Waiting” evokes questions of subjectivity in the mirrored performance of two women. The single take, tableau composition forms the structure for catalytic change between the characters. The sensuous desert environment accentuates the poetic and ephemeral quality of this film. "Massarella uses the fixed camera shot in her enigmatic film of a symbolic encounter between two women in a beautifully shot desert location. Its cryptic form is a good example of how an idea can be treated most effectively by simple means, for instance in the use of the frame as a point of entry and exit for characters and as a perspectival space which uses foreground and interior for dramatic and emotional ends." - Michael O'Pray, Independent Means, Canadian Experimental Films at the London Filmmaker's Co-op

In a dreamy desert, a woman steps into the frame, walking alone, sitting alone. Her dream double appears, slowly approaching. Wordless and unhurried. They embrace and then walk off in different directions. Beautifully rendered in a single shot until a series of dissolves darkens the frame and closes the proceedings. -
Mike Hoolboom

- No. 5 Reversal (1989, 16mm, sound, b/w, 8:00)
“Photographed in reversal, hinting at psychodrama, lyric pastorale, structural film, ethnographic document and home movie this fragmented travelogue ranges from coast to coast before plunging south of the Canadian border. Begun with the bedside manners of two women photographed in close up, NO. 5 quickly relegates its protaganists to a stammered recitation on the soundtrack, a radio collage of pop tunes, natural sounds and white noise. Its studied compositions and stunning b/w photography close with an image of its maker framed between ruins of her own site, glimpsing worlds in construction.” - Mike Hoolboom

The film opens with a pair of lovers sharing their stories and hilarity in bed while Ruth Brown’s Teardrops From My Eyes pleads on the track, lamenting a lost love. This protracted domestic scene dissolves into a series of rapturous nature portraits. A voice-over speaks of ruinous slaughter during the war as the camera combs through the ruins. The artist appears in a brief cameo, carefully posed and lit in a studio, the camera covering half her face as if she had been delivered to the machines of seeing. She appears between shots of another abandoned house, another broken window that we are looking through so that the work of putting the world back together can begin again. - Mike Hoolboom

- Interference (1990, 16mm, sound, b/w, 20:00)
The sense of constructed time, the quality of care and attention, is exquisite here. A typist finds her keys in a machine rhythm of another era, outside the construction crews are working full stop. Here is a portrait of the in-between, before inspiration strikes, before the first shot, the first intention. She puts coffee on the boil while the kids play in a nearby schoolyard. She smokes, picks at a few more keys, listens to the clock tick. She stares out the window as the light changes, a neighbor waits at the front door for mail. A world of offscreen sound summons and interrupts her. The tree that lives in her neighbourhood. The caffeinated distraction. The quietest lesbian drama complete with punch line. A portrait of pre-internet distraction, before the world wide web filled every thought balloon.- Mike Hoolboom

“Interference” continues the filmmaker’s experimentation with time and stillness. A woman sits at her desk typing. Outside, the Canadian winter holds the land in its grip. Snow flurries drift past the window. The woman makes coffee, waits for the mail to arrive, sits in thought. We wait for the disaster to strike. At the end of the day, another woman enters the apartment and asks how the day went. The end. The accumulation of non-events gradually strips us of all the clichés of dramatic action, and we are made aware that our actual lives are always like this. -CFMDC

Screening format: 2K (New HD transfers specifically made for this screening. Digitization supervised by the filmmaker)

Image Gallery: 

One Woman Waiting (Josephine Massarella, 1984)
One Woman Waiting (Josephine Massarella, 1984)



Saturday, May 6, 2017 - 17:00
  • Calle Bonifaz, 6
    39003   Santander, Cantabria
    43° 27' 49.5756" N, 3° 47' 56.9652" W