Alternative Films Tell Unique Stories

Jonathan Santiago Arts & Features Assistant Editor

On Tuesday, September 6 two alternative films were shown in Golden Auditorium, Little Hall. The screening was associated with digital photo and video art as well as film theory and history.

The first film, “Grosse Fatigue,” had an almost YouTube video like feel to it. The artist Camille Henrot attempted to explain the theory of creation through scientific knowledge, artifacts found in the Smithsonian archives and storytelling mainly through poetic verse. The challenge she created for herself was indeed fatiguing. The images and words seem almost disconnected as the audience

attempts to interpret the visual and

auditory stimulus Henrot provides.

 “Things don’t come in the same order in the different versions [of origin stories], but I found it interesting to try to establish a large structure where sentences selected from these myths could be placed back to back, while still respecting the fact that sometimes it doesn’t fit together, it doesn’t work like a logical story. That’s why it is actually a poem,” Henrot said in an interview at the 2013

Venice Biennale.

Henrot included images from the Smithsonian archives, Youtube and Wikipedia searches she made while trying to understand the artifacts she was seeing. The images ranged from varying species of parakeets and other tropical birds to images of traditional tribes in Africa. The amount of information was overwhelming, but it worked well with the overarching themes of the short movie. The movie also incorporates brief looks at various cultures’ creation myths from Shintoism to Christianity, adding to the cross-cultural applicability of the film and the pursuit

of understanding.

The second film, “Evergreen,” created by Sasha Litvintseva, was a story of a sci-fi fantasy where Earth was viewed as a relic by beings from the distant future. The movie seemed to focus on Asian culture rather than the world as a whole. The movie also included plenty of contrasting images of nature and technology interacting. There were scenes of forests full of moonlight at night and people taking pictures in front of fountains and trees, which seemed to evoke an image of the prostration of

nature for our enjoyment.       

The film also briefly explored the

concept of an imperfect utopia. The future shown was one where the great features and buildings we had created were no more than tourist attractions. The meaning of our greatest achievements were lost in translation.

These two films pushed the boundaries of film through their usage of images and clips to demonstrate a theme or story in a way that allows for individual interpretations. Henrot and Litvintseva may have used different methods to convey their message, but each was effective.