April 2018, arsenal cinema

Filmmakers’ Choice

XÉNOGÉNÈSE, 1982

We Have To Learn How To Enjoy The Beauty Of Life: Beauty seems fatuous, manufactured with suspect intentions.  It seems more shrewd to become close friends with bleakness. But in combination, can beauty and bleakness generate more complex reflections?  
 A clue is in the title of this program, a quote from THE SHOE (1986). The teacher demands beauty, insisting that white chalk is red or blue, and that rainbow drawings can be made with broken pencils. The insistence on nonexistent beauty generates beauty in the effort to suspend belief.All these works include such suspensions. In XÉNOGÉNÈSE (1982), a man in suit and tie navigates scraped lines amidst trash. IMAGES OF A CENTER (2005) speaks of such a utopian social order, that off-screen realities are  brought deeper into relief. And in YUMEN (2013), the depleted landscape of a former oil extraction town becomes the final stage set for wandering humans and 16mm film, the medium of ghosts. (jl) (23.4.)