Just as a chrysalis with her false death heralds a fuller, freer life, the (false) death of film – a macabre refrain over the past decade – was a preparation foreshadowing new life for the moving image.
Image production machines multiply and are more and more efficient. Film fruition contexts and devices multiply as well and renew, without none of the old ones getting completely replaced or disappearing. Film seems to go back to a primeval force, getting slowly rid of the yoke and chains imposed by the necessity of compliance with the old canons, which still referred to classic arts. Getting out of the cocoon, it begins to leave behind – slowly, but inevitably – a trail of narrative models, film direction styles, and narrow-minded ideas about entertainment and false wonder.
This is the new cinema, a new organism, a hybrid in which elements and characters blend, scales of value are reconfigured, different practices intersect and intertwine, and the map of aesthetic references is overturned. In this cinema, the definition game is ever more difficult, specifically because the horizon that one tries to define has completely changed. The direct dialogue with reality is still the pillar which one leaves from and returns to, but even though the carefree, light, and rigorous ways of the search for and writing of meaning clearly derive from the original source of documentary tradition, language and style are more often than not the result of a montage of passages, quotes, and loans from disparate repertoires, as if all expressive gesture were at once an act of creation and re-writing, citation and subversion, allusion and refoundation. Hence, the necessity and urgency of finding, observing, seeing from up close, and analysing the specimens of this new species through a small collection of films that is the second sample of this search, which only began one year ago.
This investigation, still in its early stages, runs through the feature film genres - musical, horror, road movie, cinema of animation - that are reinterpreted, cited, rewritten, or just evoked by documentary cinema beyond the postmodern game, without shying away from the seductive appeal of the sirens of entertainment. It will also go one step beyond, where the work on codes is more sophisticate and more implicit, less straightforward, or where an idea of editing associated to a lighting decision conveys to a precise cinematic universe. Or another step further, where the reference to a stylistic code of feature film serves as emotional counterpoint to documentary storytelling, or yet where linguistic experimentation and essay-like approach cross with the trajectories of video art. This new species of documentary takes new shapes like a chimera, depositing other strata, other materials on the surface of the mere fact. Processing a new style, it lets the different characteristics of what once were different and separate species of cinema overlap, never letting them blend together.
curator of SUI GENERIS
All the films in the SUI GENERIS Section