KVT gets into the magic of super 8
Saturday Night was one of those super duper times when two two of my favorite groups combined and gave a big crowd a really super duper collaboration that resulted in an exciting visual and sound symphony about Hanoi.
Doclab is a vital force in the training, workshopping and showcasing of film and video art in Vietnam and since 2009 has grown to be one of the county’s great cultural assets. For anyone, like me, interested in seeing the work of new and experimental film and video makers locally and internationally…with the occasional oldie thrown in…. it’s essential to be on their mailing list [email protected] so that you get details of their frequent screenings and talks…usually held at Goethe who is a major sponsor and supporter (as the attached link indicates) .
Saturday gve us a short but excellent premiere of a new Doclab work that is best described from their PR blurb below:
The Sound We See: A Hanoi City Symphony is a cinematic exploration of the dynamic urban environment of Vietnam’s capital…….the world premiere of this new film made in partnership with Hanoi DocLab and the Echo Park Film Center (EPFC), a non-profit media arts organization based inechopark Los Angeles.
For the past month, 18 local filmmakers worked together to document the rhythm and movement of daily life in Hanoi from their unique perspectives. Dividing the day into its two-dozen hours, participants shot locations they felt best represented the city at each particular time of day and night with each hour becoming one minute in the final film. The result is a spectacular 24-minute journey through Hanoi……..
Shot on black and white Super 8 motion picture film and hand-processed by the filmmakers on-site at DocLab, The Sound We See: A Hanoi City Symphony is a truly do-it-yourself production that references the classic cinema of Walter Ruttman’s 1927 masterpiece Berlin: Symphony Of A Great City while exploring new approaches to collaborative creative process and celebrating the energy and possibility of 21st century Hanoi.
And truly fascinating it was.
Inside the exhibition hall at Goethe we were able to see the original super 8 sequences projected by a super 8 projector (an art installation in its own right…if only I had an image of it!!!!). Apparently each of the 18 film makers used 90 seconds of film time and edited it to the required 60. TheEchoParkmentors accompanied the film makers on their shoots.
In the courtyard, on a huge screen, a capacity crowd saw a digitalized copy of the flickery, black and white film and as in the days of early film (which the experimental film makers were apparently referencing as they explored the limits and limitations of super 8 film as well as the exciting possibilities it has as a medium for inclusion in their future film and video work) there was a live musical accompaniament.
And what an accompaniament! A modern symphony.
For me, it was really fitting that a 2013 film that experimentally took in the silent movie era utilized 2013 live experrmental music. And which composer more suited to an experimental look at Hanoi than one of Hanoi’s best sound makers, Tri Minh and his group of musicians. The sound track that we heard, the result of an intense collaboration between sound artists and film artists, was stunning.
The last Tri Minh work I heard was on my recent trip down south when I stopped over inHueand the super talented Le Twins gave myself and three Korean artists a look at their recent video work. Tri Minh’s music very effectively undescores a very excellent video art piece called ‘Before 1986’. It made me long for a sceening of the work with a live performance by Tri Minh + talented friends……and it then reminded me of the upcoming, annual ‘Sound Stuff’ festival in April where I get a good fix of sound stuff music by local and international musicians,all co-ordinated by Tri Minh.
Getting back to the film side of things…..although I was spellbound by the screening, in retrospect I had one teeny query.
Why is it that too often when I see a visual presentation about Hanoi I get the usual, iconic bits and pieces….Trang Tien looking towards the Opera House, Hoan Kiem, Ho Tay, Long Bien Bridge, that one essential railway crossing?…..and these may have been deliberately chosen to fit in with the group’s objectives, but it was a relief to see lots of other venues and scenarios utilized that showed other aspects of this burgeoning city and seemed to include aspects of the urban realities of what has become greater Hanoi.
The above aside, it was a good piece of contemporary art and one that needs to be treasured.
It is one of the marvels that occur so often inHanoi, that experts in some cultural capacity visit the city and take part in workshops and master classes with and to talented locals. Such was the case where the expert’s assistance will advance the techniques available to Doclab and all who film in it now and in the future.
My thanks to film maker Nguyen Trinh Thi and her other Doclab organizers who make good things happen….and too for the good experience of being able to capturing a look at her latest video art work available on a little screen at Manzi
|Kiem Van Tim is a keen observer of life in general and the Hanoi cultural scene in particular and offers some of these observations to the Grapevine. KVT insists that these observations and opinion pieces are not critical reviews. Please see our Comment Guidelines / Moderation Policy and add your thoughts in the comment field below.|