Film at Lincoln Center presents the eighth edition of Art of the Real, the essential showcase for vital and innovative voices in nonfiction and hybrid filmmaking, from November 19-21. The 2021 slate features a vibrant collection of works by acclaimed filmmakers from around the world. Aptly subtitled “Counter Encounters,” this year’s Art of the Real presents one feature and 41 shorts, and encompasses works by historical and contemporary filmmakers, artists, collectives, and communities. Their practices not only disturb classical ethnographic paradigms, but also reinvent an art of the real in itself.
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Counter Encounters is a cinephilic letter to ethnography, one of rupture and reignition, inviting consideration by everyone interested in building visual cultures of mutual recognition. Almost since its inception, ethnography has reckoned with its own complicated foundations, among them its roots in colonialism, and the imbalanced and troubled relations inherent in a one-sided narrative of encounter. Through this self-reflection and reinvention, new forms of cinema have been devised by ethnographers and artists, which have helped to question and reinvent the languages representing alterity.
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Organized by Laura Huertas Millán and Rachael Rakes, Counter Encounters Collective.
Art of the Real will return in spring 2022 with a full edition.
The films in this program revolt against the assignation to prescribed identities that’s been replicated throughout centuries by foreign eyes (belonging to colonizers, anthropologists, artists, tourists, politicians, and so on). Evoking the face-to-face encounters so recurrent in historical ethnographic films, these works are a testament to a lasting and still ongoing anti-colonial resistance.
The desire for the encounter oscillates, in this program’s films, between alterity and recognition of sameness. Each work engages with an inward exploration, employing the intimacy of a subjective first-person address to reckon with an environment devastated by colonialism and its consequences.
Q&A with Angelo Madsen Minax
The works in this program push the premise of auto-ethnography into a rigorous, foreign, and experimental art form. They include raw and sensitive excavations into personal history and environments, and express the entangled inheritances endemic to any forms of self.
Examining earlier languages, biases, and forms of representation, the works here use found footage and archival matter to shed light on the specificity of disciplines of categorization. This could allow for a systemic critique, offering up the old material for new kinds of manipulation and reevaluation.
This program focuses on microscopic views, images of decay, forest floor–level views, and other attempts at non-human-centered perspectives. The films in this program are experienced as immersive, saturated, and sometimes even psychedelic, breaking from what could be thought of as typical documentary or ethnographic aesthetics.
Donna Haraway’s statement “It matters what stories make worlds, what worlds make stories” explains well the blistering urgency across this program’s films to reclaim the subversive powers of the imagination, transforming marginality into fertile lands of playfulness and new storytelling.
Marta Rodriíguez was Jean Rouch’s student and one the first women documentary filmmakers in Colombia. These two early works, co-directed with Jorge Silva, culminated in threats to their lives and even an assassination attempt.
This posthumous film from Sara Gómez (1942-1974) looks back at the Cuban revolution (1953-1959) and La Habana radical urban and social transformations.
In this acclaimed document and expression of gendered pain, joy, and hardship, experimental filmmaker Chick Strand collaborates with five women who communicate their experience through direct and frank stories.
Free Talk Presented by HBO · November 20 at 4pm
Artists and filmmakers from the program Carlos Motta, Basel Abbas, and Ruanne Abou-Rahme join curators Laura Huertas Millán and Rachael Rakes to discuss different strategies, ethics, and forms of alter-ethnographic practice. The conversation stems from works being screened as well as additional comparative and historic references in film, art, writing, and related disciplines.
Tickets are $15 for General Public and $12 for students, seniors (62+), and persons with disabilities. FLC Members receive $10 discounted in-person tickets. Get in-person tickets by clicking the “Films” or “Schedule” tab above.
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