The Art of Keeping it Brief: The 16th London Short Film Festival



A video of a man in a latex balaclava jump cuts to pumping bass and roaring synths. Armed with a pair of plastic bags, he bobs up and down a council estate with the befuddled urgency of a startled pigeon. Beneath the man on the screen, his live doppelganger shuffles across a bouncy castle in similarly drunk determination. He pauses to stare at me as I stiffly type notes into my phone, his mouth aghast, a gaping hole. His fellow freaks, dressed like giant sex toys, encircle me, stroking my face with rubber gloves. Suddenly, I feel like I’m the freak. What am I looking for?

娜塔莉·夏普和她的“唯一的动物标本剥制者”乐队的这场演出,开启了今年伦敦短片节的八个地点之一,这是一个为期两周的年度节目,有100多个放映和活动,从档案电视广播到来自54个国家的新旧独立短片。也许是偶然的,夏普厚颜无耻的干预表明了今年阵容中的两个历史时刻。她和她的乐队成员在弹跳城堡的围墙内与观众会合,这是一个艺术空间,去年由Benedetta Rogers和Thomas Randall Page设计,被称为“Airdraft”,回顾了布莱希特·德巴克(Brecht Debackere)2016年纪录片《Exprmntl》中引用的1967年扩大的电影表演。这部电影名为《电影》,由杰弗里·肖制作,它邀请观众进入一个膨胀的表演和投影区,并成为这部电影的一部分。与此同时,夏普将随机的视觉效果和古怪的节奏拼接在一起,可以追溯到“刮花”(scratch),这是一个激进的DIY视频艺术运动,于20世纪80年代初在英国兴起,今年的电影节在一个放映和现场活动的晚上纪念了这一运动。

This performance by Natalie Sharp and her band The Lone Taxidermist, opened one of the eight locations of this year’s London Short Film Festival, an annual two-week programme of more than 100 screenings and events, spanning archival television broadcasts to independent shorts, old and new, from 54 countries. Perhaps by chance, Sharp’s brazen intervention speaks to two historical moments featured in this year’s line-up. The bouncy-castle enclosure in which she and her bandmates accost the audience – an arts space known as the AirDraft designed by Benedetta Rogers and Thomas Randall-Page last year – recalls a 1967 expanded cinema performance referenced in Brecht Debackere’s 2016 documentary, Exprmntl. Titled MovieMovie and produced by Jeffrey Shaw, this work invited viewers to enter an inflated cone of performances and projections and become part of the spectacle. Meanwhile, Sharp’s splicing together of random visuals and funky rhythms traces back to Scratch, a radical, DIY video art movement that emerged in Britain in the early 1980s, that was commemorated by the festival this year in an evening of projections and live events.

The Art of Keeping it Brief: The 16th London Short Film Festival - 简明扼要的艺术:第16届伦敦电影节

The Lone Taxidermist, Trifle, 2017,album cover. © The Lone Taxidermist

web_the-lone-taxidermist-trifle_lpsleeve_front_3773.jpg the lone taxidermist,trifle,2017,专辑封面。礼貌:唯一的动物标本剥制师


菲利普·伊尔森(Philip Ilson) - 短片电影节的联合创始人兼艺术总监 - 反映出,今年,该计划无意中被证明比16年来的历史更为重要,超过一半的特别活动 拥有20世纪50年代至90年代的短裤。 我很想问他为什么这些历史的相似之处突然被引入焦点,但是为了赋予它意义,所有这些都与音乐节的特别节目的任性精神格格不入。

Philip Ilson – the Short Film Festival co-founder and artistic director – reflects that, this year, the programme has unintentionally turned out to be more historically-focused than it’s ever been in its 16-year run, with over half of its special events featuring shorts from the 1950s to the ’90s. I’m tempted to ask him why these historical parallels are suddenly being brought into focus, but to place a meaning on it all would be out of step with the wayward spirit of the festival’s ad hoc programming.

一个摇摆不定的摄影机捕捉到一名男子在山坡上摔倒了“山雀屁股”,滚动着他的身体,用一个孩子无边的奇思妙想张开双臂。 “这种野蛮......这种漠不关心的行为”,令人渴望的画外音。英国艺术家安德鲁·科廷(AndrewKötting)的一部电影,KlippertyKlöpp(1984)将父亲对儿子的记忆带入漫画荒谬之中。这部作品以黑白双Super 8电影拍摄,有一位演员,持续时间为12分钟,通过即兴和偶然的形式和叙事方式抵消其技术限制。凭借其褪色的色调和斑驳的纹理,KlippertyKlöpp让人感到一种遐想的遐想,与配音产生共鸣。 “我记得他说要跟着我到地球的尽头。”当它超过六分钟的标记时,柯特的已经松散的叙述开始完全瓦解。配音闯入歌曲;演员在圈子里疾驰;和Kötting鼓励你关注。 “让我们探戈宝贝。我们是探戈。

A wavering camera captures a man plunging ‘tit over arse’ down a hill, rolling his body and splaying his arms with the boundless whimsy of a child. ‘Such savageness…such uncaring behaviour’, drawls the wistful voiceover. A film by the British artist Andrew Kötting, Klipperty Klöpp (1984) takes a father’s memory of his son on a detour into comic absurdity. Shot in black-and-white, double Super 8 film, with one actor and a duration of 12 minutes, the work counterbalances its technical restrictions with an improvisational and serendipitous approach to form and narrative. With its washed-out tones and mottled textures, Klipperty Klöpp conjures a feeling of reverie tinged with longing, resonating with the voiceover. ‘I remember him saying follow me to the end of the earth.’ As it passes the six-minute mark, Kötting’s already loose narrative starts to disintegrate completely. The voiceover breaks into song; the actor gallops in circles; and Kötting encourages you to follow. ‘Let’s tango baby. Let’s tango.’

The Art of Keeping it Brief: The 16th London Short Film Festival - 简明扼要的艺术:第16届伦敦电影节

Jeffrey Shaw, Movie Movie, 1967, performance documentation at Knokke-le-Zoute, Belgium. © the artist

‘web_jeffrey-shaw-2.jpg jeffrey-shaw,电影,1967年,比利时Knokke le Zoute的演出文件。礼貌:艺术家泰国电影制作人


帕索蒙·蒙特·特斯普拉蒂普(Pathompon Mont Tesprateep)的《困惑是下一个》(2018年)也突然变得默默无闻。一个从崩溃的国家逃亡的人通过记录树木的声音寻求安慰。用手搜索树枝的特写镜头有节奏地被剪下来,以听到树枝的敲击声和树叶的沙沙声。在重复编辑,序列拨浪鼓你喜欢溃烂的想法。爱德华杰弗里斯更厚颜无耻地篡改了他在《死狗》(2008)中的叙述控制。一部关于一个男人寻找他的狗的小规模戏剧突然变成了一个杀气腾腾的幻想。在与屈尊的邻居紧张的交谈之后,主人公进入了虚空,在极度悲痛中开枪射击。镜头变宽了,他的女朋友进入画面,随着英国流行乐器曲调欢快的旋律闪烁,而她的搭档则在背景中结束了他的受害者。场景的完全不连贯性与情节线的连贯性相分离。观看两个人物将自己交给感官遗忘,会鼓励你放松对理性的把握,让音乐占据主导地位。这些短裤融入了日常生活的边线,唤起了一种不完全属于主流文化的感觉。打开传统叙事的缺口,他们比你通常在主流故事片中遇到的更微妙的情感体验。

“耳聋的轮廓”,一个研究耳聋经验的短裤项目,充满了这些迷人的休息。当一个男人在毫无意义的独白中与一个女孩交换眼神时,他狂笑着说“话语占据了很大的空间”(路易丝·斯特恩的《船》,2018年)。一个小男孩在下雨的时候高兴地向一头骆驼点头,模仿它的咀嚼动作以表示同情(西班牙电影制片人胡安·安东尼奥·莫雷诺的《焦糖的话》,2016年),一个M_ori青少年在无声地表演了一段哈卡后终于赢得了他受伤父亲的爱意(Jared Flitchroft和Jack O'Donnell,Tama,2018)。在对话中的拓片中,这些短篇小说描绘了经历顿悟时刻的移情主体。当一些电影探索主流叙事的边缘时,其他的电影在他们的方法上更具反应性。

印度摄影师苏拉布·赫拉(SohrabHura's Lost Head and the Bird,2018年)敏锐地捕捉到了当代民间故事的暗流。画外音描述了一个女人的苦难,实际上,她已经失去了她的头,一个肉食爱好者。画外音模仿了牵强的象征意义——“她错过了平常的事情……化妆,梳头……你知道……平常的事”——银幕上闪现出人们真实生活主观性的预兆。通过文字和图像之间的激烈对峙,赫拉破坏了故事的可读性,展示了画面制作的暴力。

Thai filmmaker Pathompon Mont Tesprateep’s Confusion is Next (2018) also crackles into obscurity. A fugitive from a collapsed country seeks solace by recording the sounds of trees. Close-ups of hands searching branches are rhythmically cut to the sounds of sticks thrumming and leaves rustling. Edited on repeat, the sequence rattles you like a festering thought. Edward Jeffreys more brazenly tampers with the controls of his narrative in Dead Dog (2008). A small-scale drama of a man searching for his dog swerves into a murderous fantasy. After a tense conversation with his condescending neighbour, the protagonist enters the void, shooting his rifle in a frenzy of grief. Cutting to a wide shot, his girlfriend enters the frame, shimmying to the jubilant melodies of an instrumental Britpop tune, while her partner finishes off his victim in the background. The sheer disjointedness of the scene breaks with the cohesion of the plotline. Watching two characters give themselves over to sensory oblivion encourages you to loosen the grip of reason and let the music to take hold.

Collapsing into the side-lines of everyday reality, these shorts invoke the feeling of not fully belonging to a dominant culture. Opening up gaps in conventional narratives, they articulate more nuanced emotional experiences than those you’d normally encounter in mainstream feature films. ‘The Contouring of Deafhoods’, a programme of shorts investigating the experience of deafness is full of these bewitching breaks. A man guffaws that ‘words take up a lot of room’, as he exchanges looks with a girl amidst an onslaught of meaningless monologue (Louise Stern’s Boat, 2018). A young boy nods his head in glee at the arrival of rain to a camel, imitating its chewing motions in a gesture of compassion (Spanish filmmaker Juan Antonio Moreno’s, Words of Caramel, 2016), and a Māori adolescent finally wins a loving look from his damaged father after silently performing a haka (Jared Flitcroft and Jack O’Donnell, Tama, 2018). Amidst the rubbings-out of dialogue, these shorts portray empathetic subjects experiencing moments of epiphany.

Where some of the films probe the margins of mainstream narratives, others are more reactive in their approach. The Indian photographer Sohrab Hura’s Lost Head and The Bird (2018) stridently taps into the dark undercurrents of a contemporary folktale. A voiceover describes the hardships of a woman who has, quite literally, lost her head to a carnivorous lover. While the voiceover parodies the far-fetched symbolism – ‘She missed the ordinary things … wearing makeup, combing her hair … you know … the usual’ – stark snapshots of people flash up on the screen as harbingers of real-life subjectivities. Through this jarring confrontation between word and image, Hura disrupts the legibility of the story and shows up the violence of picture-making.

The Art of Keeping it Brief: The 16th London Short Film Festival - 简明扼要的艺术:第16届伦敦电影节

Sohrab Hura, The Lost Head and the Bird, 2017, film still. © the artist

web-the-lost-head-and-the-bird-dir.-sohrab-hura.jpg sohrab-hura,《迷失的头与鸟》,2017年,电影《Still》。礼貌:艺术家


另一方面,阿尔巴尼亚艺术家阿德里安·帕西(Adrian Paci)的《国葬》(Intergnum)(2017年),凭借敏锐的自我意识,使人产生控制的错觉。各种共产党领导人葬礼的档案剪辑被编辑成一个无缝的序列。在人群中捕捉并与其他档案片段协调,个人的情感姿态被纳入视觉模式。看《国葬》,你几乎觉得自己是个看不见的族长。引导身体,使他们的悲伤同化,服从你的命令。

Leonhard M_llner和Robin Klengel对电影《简·沃克行动》(Jane Walk)中的权威技巧采取了更为轻率的态度(2018年)。城市之旅通过一个反乌托邦射击游戏的建筑,它向游走在被摧毁的曼哈顿充满暴力的游客展示了和平游客的无忧无虑的态度。

查理·林恩(Charlie Lyne)的《个人真相》(2018)也探讨了审美体验的逃避现实的吸引力,这是一篇纪录片,讲述了麦迪逊·韦尔奇(Madison Welch)的经历,他在阅读了网上关于他是一个恋童癖者的虚假说法后,向华盛顿特区的一个派兹里亚发射了一支步枪。林恩以阴谋理论家的痴迷精确性调查韦尔奇,利用地图和图表、头像和截图来揭示他的故事。当他反映韦尔奇的思维方式并重新审视他的信仰模式时,林恩反映道,“也许我用的基本上是相同的逻辑。”林恩认同韦尔奇有点奇怪,好像他在从事某种元嗜好。这让我一时不安,但是,就像所有的短裤一样,很快一切都结束了。


Not all of the films manage to be as subversive. In British filmmaker Benjamin Lister’s Curse of the Internet Man (2018), an online narcissist glibly narrates his obsession with social media and fame. Summing up his all-too-familiar symptoms of addiction and psychosis into neatly rhyming couplets, he features in a sequence of fake candid settings, slickly edited with special effects, filters and motion blur. While there is some irony in the smoothness of the delivery, it doesn’t go far enough to have a discomfiting impact. The narrative doesn’t bite. Instead, it pacifies.

The Albanian artist Adrian Paci’s Interregnum (2017), on the other hand, conjures the illusion of control with shrewd self-awareness. Various archival clips of the public funerals of communist leaders are edited into a seamless sequence. Captured in crowds and harmonized with other archival fragments, the emotional gestures of individuals are subsumed into a visual pattern. Watching Interregnum, you almost feel like you’re the invisible patriarch. Directing the bodies, homogenizing their grief, subjecting them to your command. Leonhard Müllner and Robin Klengel take a more flippant approach to cinema’s artifice of authority in Operation Jane Walk (2018). A city tour through the architecture of a dystopian shooter game, it presents travellers roving a demolished Manhattan teeming with violence with the carefree attitude of peaceful tourists.

Also probing the escapist appeal of aesthetic experience is Charlie Lyne’s Personal Truth (2018), a documentary-essay that follows the journey of Madison Welch, who fired a rifle into a Washington D.C. pizzeria after reading false online claims about it being a paedophile ring. Lyne investigates Welch with the obsessive precision of a conspiracy theorist, using maps and diagrams, headshots and screenshots to uncover his story. As he mirrors Welch’s style of thinking and retraces his patterns of belief, Lyne reflects, ‘Maybe I’m using basically the same logic.’ There’s something arch about Lyne’s identification with Welch, as if he’s engaging in some kind of meta-hobby. This jars with me momentarily, but, as all shorts are, soon it’s all over.

The 16th London Short Film Festival ran from 11 until 20 January 2019.

Main image: Leonhard Müllner & Robin Klengel, Operation Jane Walk, 2018, film still. © the artists  . 

Mimi Chu

Mimi Chu is editorial assistant of frieze and is based in London, UK.

主要图片:Leonhard M_llner&Robin Klengel,Operation Jane Walk,2018,Film Still.礼貌:艺术家。Mimi Chu Mimi Chu是Frieze的编辑助理,总部设在英国伦敦。意见/伦敦短片节Mimi Chu Benjamin Lister Adrian Paci Andrew K_tting Opinion




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