May 2008

arsenal experimental welcomes Bruce Elder (Toronto)

Friday, May 16th, 7pm, Cinema Arsenal 1

We are looking forward to welcome Bruce Elder with his new film THE YOUNG PRINCE (2007) at Cinema Arsenal. With his filmic oeuvre and decades of research and teaching Bruce Elder is one of the most influential figures in experimental film in Canada.
THE YOUNG PRINCE is the fifth film of his “Book of Praise”-Cyclus and is based on alchemical themes. The film is about transformations -- about transformations of imagery, about history as transformation, about eros as a transformative power, about that old Eisensteinian idea of collage and montage as transformation, but most of all, about transformations of the self.

"When I had finished the film, I heard someone speak of visions in meditation, and what he said seemed particularly apposite: ’Imagine a maelstrom,’ he said, ’made of imagination, swirling round and round and round, a maelstrom open at the top and bottom and bounded on the sides by the nothingness of the unimagined. A beggar imagines himself sitting at the edge of this maelstrom and imagines himself becoming aware that he is sitting at the edge of this maelstrom, looking inward at this vortex, observing beings – demonic forms, ghosts, animals, humans – first rising, and then falling through the vortex. These transient beings, the fleeting imaginings, he came to understand, have the character they do because of his evanescent mental states: they arise out of the flux that is what he knows of his mind. The fleeting mental states that possess him determine whether these imagined beings will elevate his perceptions/imaginings or whether these phantasms will draw him down into the abyss.’ What is seen is never made of anything but imagination. Beyond that lies nothingness. " (Bruce Elder)

The film combines two sorts of transformations: electrical transformations, produced by digital image processing, and chemical transformations, produced by processing the film by hand, in small batches. Thus, it is a dialogue between two technologies, the older chemical/mechanical technology of the era that gave birth to the cinema, and the new electronic/digital computing technology more commonly associated with video -- "a dialogue between what was and what is yet to be." (Bruce Elder)