Dir: Jo Andres
26 min., 35mm, 1:1.37, Color
Produktion: Open City Films, Inc. Buch: Jo Andres, nach den Sarajewo-Tagebüchern des Jahres 1992 von Alma Hajric. Kamera: Lisa Rinzler. Ausstattung: Liz Deluna. Musik: Hahn Rowe. Schnitt: Jo Andres, Malcolm Jamieson. Regie-Assistenz: Adam Greenhouse. Kamera-Assistenz: Sally Boython. Produzenten: Joana Vicente, Jason Kliot. Ausführende Produzenten: Jo Andres, Steve Buscemi.
Darsteller: Mimi Goese, Lucian Buscemi, Steve Buscemi, Talia Kagan, Maryette Charlton, Lillian Kiesler, Anthony Chase, Lucy Sexton, Michael Buscemi, Jo Andres, Ira Paneth. Almas Stimme: Mira Furlan.
Uraufführung: 12.9.1996, Toronto Film Festival.
Weltvertrieb: Jane Balfour Films Ltd, Burghley House, 35, Fortess Road, London W5180, Großbritannien. Tel.: (44-171) 267 5392, Fax: (44-171) 267 4241.
Fri 14.02. 11:00 Kino 7 im Zoo Palast Fri 14.02. 16:30 Delphi Sat 15.02. 22:30 Arsenal Sun 16.02. 19:30 Akademie der Künste Fri 21.02. 15:00 Babylon
Non-linear, dreamlike and spectral, BLACK KITES is a testament to artistry, imagination, and the resilience of the human psyche.
For many years I worked in the Theater creating full length performances incorporating live performers and film images; distorting them through projection onto a variety of surfaces such as fabrics, running water, and the human body. (...)
I have translated many of my stage innovations to my film work. I describe my aesthetic style as ,perceptual mischief'. This technique manipulates images in innovative ways to deceive the eye and create a sense of mystery and wonder. My use of certain formal trickeries bypasses audiences' standard perceptions, creating instead an intuitive, highly visual, dream logic rich in sensuality and symbols.
I have developed a strong visual language that evokes feelings on an intuitive or subliminal level. I combine images with spoken language, the two elements - visual and textual - supporting each other.
BLACK KITES is the outcome of a chance encounter between Sarajevan visual artist Alma Hajric and myself. We met and became friends while on tour in Spain with our respective theater groups in 1988. At the beginning of the siege of Sarajevo in 1992 Alma sent some of her journals with drawings and collages to me. These are the basis for BLACK KITES.
"There are two strong feelings at this time... one is to fight for survival, and the other is to die," says Alma, the female narrator of BLACK KITES (...). In sharp contrast to the fleeting images of soldiers, burned-out buildings, and anonymous casualties shown on U.S. television, Andres focuses on the interior spaces of one woman's psyche when she is forced to live along with her family and friends from an art collective, in the basement of an abandoned theater.
With shocking banality, Alma speaks of her everyday hurdles - burning sets and the parquet floor for fuel; learning to wash dishes with dirt in the absence of water. These verbal pictures are juxtaposed with descriptions of her emotional trauma and fear of death and loss. Andres succeeds in humanizing the effects of the atrocities at the most personal, basic level. "I wanted to create an awareness of what trauma feels like without distancing the viewer," says the Brooklyn-based filmmaker. "I wanted to deliver that feeling without delivering guilt, or the sense that we should do something when we can't." (...)
Hajric is a poetic writer, able to chronicle the physical and psychological effects of life in the basement shelter with reflexivity and jarring beauty. "We often fantasize about food," she writes, "fresh vegetables, a juicy orange." She speaks of longing ("On television they show advertisements with swimming pools, happy people... all these things are beyond your reach") and fear ("I know that life itself is stronger than the terror of my existence"). (...)
To duplicate the closed interior space suggested by the journals, the film was shot almost entirely in the basement of the filmmaker‘s home in Brooklyn. Actors - Mimi Goese and Andres' husband, actor/director Steve Buscemi, and their three-and-a-half-year-old son, Lucian, silently but expressively perform the every day acts described by Alma - talking, eating, cooking, and sleeping. Intermixed are sequences of what Andres calls "light painting" - colored shapes that move across the film's surface, seemingly in and out of Alma's thoughts, and which evoke a dreamlike surreal sense of being. This imagery, along with the use of symbolic close-ups and theatrical lighting, bring Andres' stylistic interpretation to Alma's feelings and experiences. Laurie Ouellette, in: The Independent Film & Video, Vol. 19, No. 3, April 1996
If the constant headlines about Bosnia have dehumanized the war for you, take a look at BLACK KITES. Based on the diaries of visual artist Alma Hajric, this experimental film explores a deeply personal story of how it feels to exist under siege. Forced to live in a Sarajevo basement where their theatrical sets are stored, Alma, her fellow artists and their children must wash dishes with dirt to conserve water and burn the sets for fuel. In one unforgettable scene, Alma's neighbor recalls the bombing of a nearby school and the two starving kittens who lapped up the blood of slain children. Mysterious black-backdropped reenactments, narrated by Mira Furlan, alternate with technologically manipulated images. At times, the realism of these reenactments conflicts with the experimental quality of the rest of the film. But Furlan's powerful narration and the horrifying story itself add up to a moving statement about modern war, creativity and survival. Leigh Newman, in: Time Out, New York, April 17-24, 1996
Jo Andres studied Dance and Film at Ohio University. She began to make films during her student days, in the beginning of the 1980s. She now works not only as a filmmaker but also as a dancer and choreographer.
1980: Punk Poultry. 1983: Warrior. 1984: Pteronnadonnas. 1985: Light, Phantasm, Earth. 1986: As per Gaggy Rout; Vita da vida; Ghost Fish Speak. 1987: Before Your Eyes; 1988: Lucid Possession. 1989: Losing Sight, Not Vision. 1990: Dreaming Out Loud. 1992: Ancestors. 1992: What Happened to Pete. 1996: Black Kites.
© 1997 by International Forum of New Cinema. All rights reserved.