By Robert Koehler
Was this the single most memorable image of the entire BAFICI? Perhaps. Just as Godard’s festival trailer for last year’s Viennale, Une Catastrophe, stamped the entire festival with the filmmaker’s own form of visual-audio music and sense of the Zeitgeist, so Lisandro Alonso’s BAFICI trailer, mysteriously titled S/T, seemed to stamp this edition of BAFICI. I would say that it’s the single greatest festival trailer I’ve ever seen: A close, static shot trained on an owl, in turn very much trained on the camera, its whole body undulating with the inhaling and exhaling of breath timed perfectly to a pulsating soundtrack of beating, pounding drums. It was Alonso’s entire cinema encapsulated into a single minute, a cinema defined by remorseless observation, of the power of solitude, of the essential nature of nature and the nature of watching and listening. After a minute of Alonso’s Owl staring back at us, demanding our attention and some explanation of ourselves, we are able to watch anything that follows…..
Here’s the maker of the Owl Trailer, Alonso himself, dropping by the festival just outside BAFICI’s Festival Space. The title S/T? A mystery…..And excellent news for Southern California lovers of Alonso’s films: He informed me that he’ll be starting a residency at CalArts, starting in mid-April. (Meaning, starting just about NOW.) He’ll be based at CalArts for several weeks, screening and discussing his films, and who knows what else. Stay posted at Film Journey and the usual places for any further Lisandro sightings/events/encounters in Los Angeles.
We may be seeing the start of a shift in Alonso’s cinema, which reached a new development in Liverpool. Whether this also means a shift away from Argentina to….somewhere else, only time will tell. With what some consider the world’s most interesting director, it is always worth keeping track….