Now playing! Handmade gemstones at the crossroads

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Cinema, necessarily, is the most collaborative art form. A movie requires more people (and more money) to produce than any other art form. But there is a province of cinema where an individual artist can evoke and create a finished work with both hands: the experimental film.

12th edition of the San Francisco film library crossroads festival of new avant-garde films and videos is a touching and shattering assortment of styles, techniques and voices. Organized by Cinémathèque director Steve Polta in seven programs broadcast live until Thursday, September 23 (and online until October 21) and two more screenings at the Roxie on October 16 and 17, Crossroads is a strengthening antidote to professionalism commercial and elegant anonymity. moving images for the general public.

You can practically smell the breeze and taste the stew in Tres bocetos de casa / Three sketches of the house, Azucena Losana’s lovingly tactile (and homesick) ode to life between her native Mexico and Argentina. (It screens in program one, “spins on an airplane, while the excavation of images found by Losana on 50-year-old tourism promotions, The cuarta plantación, is shown in program two, “such a bright future. ”)

Extract from ‘La cuarta plantación’ by Azucena Losana, 2020. (SF Cinematheque)

Mapping the terrain of the psyche instead of a city’s streets and storefronts, local filmmaker Devin Jie Allen Blue distance (also in ‘Spins on a Plane’) is an intergenerational reflection on ancestry, place, responsibility, identity, memory and time that contains more cinematic ideas in seven minutes than most narrative features . Sri Lankan filmmaker Rajee Samarasinghe Misery next time (in program six, “it’s called moving”) Is a pre-dystopian document of a borderline country (to paraphrase the artist’s note) whose pessimism is counterbalanced by its beautiful photography.

San Francisco filmmaker Anthony Buchanan’s frenzy (to say the least) Pilgrimage (also in ‘Spins on a Plane’), a city tour, was inspired by a hand-drawn sketch of the outlines of SF by Craig Baldwin, the brilliant Mission District filmmaker and longtime curator and owner of Another cinema. Bay Area LA filmmaker Alix Blevins takes the opposite approach, turning the camera to map the landscape of the body, in absolve the valve in program four, “darkness offers protection. “A contemplation of the genetic inheritance is navel-gazing (literally) without narcissism.

A child eats a piece of food.
Still from “Misery Next Time” by Rajee Samarasinghe, 2021. (SF Cinematheque)

Steve Polta carefully and intuitively placed the 61 works in Crossroads’ nine programs to play with each other, composing allusive titles (“rise to now”, “no more carefree laughter”, “need to fall”) that give a little form and context without limiting the viewer’s interpretation of each film. Each program is meant to be viewed in its entirety for maximum effect.


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