Veracity – El mar la mar
$12 General Admission
El mar la mar weaves together harrowing oral histories of the border region with hand-processed 16mm images of the flora, fauna and items left behind by those who’ve made the hazardous trek. Subjects speak of intense, mythic experiences in the desert: A man tells of a fifteen-foot-tall monster said to haunt the region, while a border patrolman spins a similarly bizarre tale of man versus beast. A sonically rich soundtrack adds to the eerie atmosphere as the call of birds and other nocturnal noises invisibly populate the austere landscape.
Emerging from the ethos of Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab, Sniadecki’s attentive documentary approach mixes perfectly with Bonnetta’s meditations on the materiality of film. Through their stunning collaboration, they create a mystical, folktale-like atmosphere dense with memories, ghosts and the remains of desire.
“An unsettlingly topical portrait of the American southwest…El mar la mar plays more like a horror film than an exercise in journalistic nonfiction.” – Jordan Cronk, Sight and Sound
“One of the top 10 films of 2017…cinema and landscape come together as sites of inscription marked by an encounter between the human and nonhuman.” – Erika Balsam, ArtForum
“Bonnetta and Sniadecki’s film stands out because it allows one of the most politicized terrains in the world to speak for itself.” – Philip Oltermann, The Guardian