|Villbjork Agger Malling and Viggo Mortensen|
in Lisandro Alonso's Jauja
|brouillard - passage #14 by Alexandre Larose|
in the Wavelengths #1 programme
|Open Form - Street and Tribune in front of PKiN,|
one of the short films from the
KwieKulik Group collective.
The recent move of Wavelengths into mid-length and feature programming was a great idea that has brought riches of this kind. My favourite film of TIFF13 was Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velese's Manakamana which I often yearn to see again as one of the most affecting portraits of cultural and religious pilgrims I've ever seen. This year several features have caught my immediate attention, again because there seemed to be a spiritual preoccupation to them. Spirituality in my use of it comes when filmmakers and their characters are aiming for metaphysical spaces that are either informed by faith and religious practices or by the desire for a kind of transcendence-seeking hope and empathy. Spirituality in film doesn't have to be theological; as Nathaniel Dorsky has taught us, it can be simply a matter of how we devotionally observe the workings of time on the human heart.
|Eugène Green's La Sapienza, |
a feature in the Wavelengths programme.
The spirituality of landscape seems to be very present in both Lonnie van Brummelen and Siebren de Haan's Episode of the Sea and Joana Pimenta's The Figures Carved Into the Knife by the Sap of the Banana Trees. The first film dwells in the seemingly anachronistic Dutch fishing village of Urk, a community that was once an island. The second, a short, offers an amitié amoureuse among the two actual islands of Madeira and Mozambique through a correspondence made up of images. They are being screened together.
|Matías Pineiro's The Princess of France|
|Julie Taymor's A Midsummer Night's Dream|
Every year I wait to see if Portuguese master Manoel de Oliveira has survived another year into his centenary decade to offer us another jewel. I always smile to see that he is still among us, increasingly experimental, moving around in the programmes and this year turning up in Wavelengths with The Old Man of Belem, an imagined encounter in eternity among the four great geniuses of Spanish literature: de Camoes, de Cervantes, de Pascoaes and Branco.
|Tsai Ming-Liang's Journey to the West,|
the next film in his Walker series.
The spiritual landscapes are therefore what excites me most this year about Wavelengths. In an era when religion and spirituality are marking seismic shifts in our political and social realities, the festival needs a thoughtful and exclusive religion, faith and spirituality programmer at least, or its own programme at best!