FROM AFAR—a film festival [Online]
The Cooley Gallery is pleased to announce FROM AFAR, a weeklong film festival organized by Roland Dahwen—artist, filmmaker, and the Cooley Gallery’s Artist-in-Residence during the 2020–2021 academic year. All five films in FROM AFAR will be screened from December 10 to 20, 2020, free of charge, through a special collaboration with Northwest Film Forum in Seattle. Dahwen explores each film in a series of accompanying essays, available at his website.
FROM AFAR presents films that, in Dahwen’s words, “vacillate between nonfiction and fiction, defying easy classification, and showing us what we’ve always known: that our rehearsals, our theaters, our fictions, and our imaginaries, are also inherent layers of our realities. The films are specific and individual, at times overt, and more often latent and elusive; they are focused, in unique ways, on personal dignity.”
Beginning December 10, visit NWFF’s virtual catalog to view all five films:
- Soleil Ô (1970) by Med Hondo (102 min.)
- Atlantiques (2009, 15 min.) and Big in Vietnam (2012, 28 min.) by Mati Diop
- Worldly Desires (2005) by Apichatpong Weerasethakul (42 min.)
- Borrufa (2020) by Roland Dahwen (109 min.)
Note: Due to distributor restrictions, the films are only available to view within the United States.
CONVERSATION WITH IMANI ELIZABETH JACKSON & ROLAND DAHWEN
As part of the FROM AFAR program, Roland Dahwen and Imani Elizabeth Jackson discuss the films and accompanying essays. This conversation will be available for the duration of the festival.
Imani Elizabeth Jackson is a poet from Chicago. She is the author of Flag (forthcoming from Futurepoem), the chapbook Saltsitting (reissued by g l o s s, 2020) and, with S*an D. Henry-Smith, the artist book Consider the Tongue (printed by Antenna/Paper Machine, 2019). Her writings appear in and are forthcoming from Triple Canopy, Apogee, the Arkansas International, midst, BOMB, Triquarterly, and elsewhere. She lives in Providence now, where she’s an MFA candidate at Brown.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Med Hondo (b. Mauritania, 1936) was a film director, actor, and voice actor. He emigrated to France in 1959, and began work on his first film Soleil Ô in 1965. Soleil Ô won the Golden Leopard Award at the 1970 Locarno International Film Festival. His films include Les ‘bicot-Négres’ vos voisins, Sahel la faim porquoi, Sarraounia, West Indies, Lumière noire, Watani, un monde sans mal, and Fatima, l’Algérienne de Dakar.
Mati Diop (b. France, 1982) is a film director and actress. She starred in Claire Denis’ 2008 film 35 Rhums (35 Shots of Rum). Diop’s debut feature film, Atlantics (2019), won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival. Her short films include Atlantiques (2009), Snow Canon, Big in Vietnam, Milles Soleils, and Liberian Boy.
Apichatpong Weerasethakul (b. Thailand, 1970) is a film director and visual artist. His 2010 film Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives won the Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival. His films include Mysterious Object at Noon, Blissfully Yours, Tropical Malady, Syndromes and a Century, and Cemetery of Splendour.
Roland Dahwen (b. US, 1990) is a filmmaker and artist. His performance The Overseas Banquet was commissioned by the Cooley Gallery, Reed College, and presented as part of the 2019 Portland Institute for Contemporary Art’s Time-Based Art Festival. His short films and video installations include May 35, Haft-Seen, and There are no birds in the nests of yesterday. Dahwen’s work was featured in the Cooley Gallery exhibition The Autopoets, part of the 2019 Converge 45 arts festival.
(Mati Diop, France & Senegal, 2009, 15 min, in Wolof w/ English subtitles)
Atlantiques is Mati Diop’s first short film, and a precursor of sorts to her acclaimed debut feature Atlantics (2019). Diop’s short depicts a group of young men as they contemplate leaving Senegal for Europe.
Image courtesy of Le Fresnoy / Anna Sanders Films
BIG IN VIETNAM
(Mati Diop, France, 2012, 28 min, in French & Vietnamese w/ English subtitles)
Big in Vietnam, Mati Diop’s 2012 short film, follows a French-Vietnamese director, as she leaves the set of a film production to walk through the city of Marseilles. An eloquent and subtle reflection on memory and migration.
Image courtesy of Néon Productions / La Réplique
(Roland Dahwen, USA, 2020, 110 min, in Spanish w/ English subtitles)
Borrufa is Roland Dahwen’s debut feature film, which premiered at the Portland International Film Festival in 2020. Set in Oregon, the film follows an immigrant family that is slowly dissolving, eroded by secrets and revelations. With the slow pace of real-life reflections, Borrufa shows the quiet and impenetrable moments unfolding between unspoken dramas.
Image courtesy of Patuá Films
(Med Hondo, France & Mauritania, 1970, 102 min, in French w/ English subtitles)
Soleil Ô is the masterful first feature by Med Hondo, which played at the 1970 International Critics’ Week at Cannes Film Festival, and won the Golden Leopard at the Locarno International Film Festival. Made over five years in collaboration with the theater group Shango, Hondo’s film follows an idealistic, unnamed protagonist (portrayed by the Guadeloupean actor Robert Liensol) as he emigrates from West Africa to France. Soleil Ô is an incisive attack on obdurate colonial legacies and pervasive racism.
Image courtesy of Janus Films
(Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand & South Korea, 2005, 42 min, in Thai w/ English subtitles)
Worldly Desires is a short film by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, depicting a film production in the jungle. Commissioned by the Jeonju International Film Festival in 2005, the film shows a couple in their search for a spiritual tree. Worldly Desires is hallucinatory and surprising, like all of Apichatpong’s works.
Image courtesy of Jeonju International Film Festival / Kick the Machine
The Cooley Gallery and Roland Dahwen extend their warmest thanks to Janus Films, Le Fresnoy, Néon Productions, Patuá Films, and Jeonju International Film Festival for granting the rights to screen these remarkable films.
About the Cooley Gallery
The Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery is Reed College’s professional visual art museum. Each academic year the Cooley produces three to four original exhibitions of work that would not otherwise be seen in the region. Exhibitions are organized by curator and director Stephanie Snyder, often in collaboration with Reed art department faculty, and partner institutions such as The New Museum, New York, MoMA PS1, New York, and the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art. Exhibitions are accompanied by publications, symposia, lectures, and performances. To this end, the Cooley also works with Portland Public School teachers and students, both at Reed, and in Portland Public School classrooms. In 2011 the Cooley reintroduced the study of calligraphy and paleography to Reed College by establishing the Calligraphy Initiative in Honor of Lloyd J. Reynolds. The Cooley was established in 1988 by a generous endowment from Sue and Edward Cooley and John and Betty Gray.