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(OC) Screening the Invisible at UCI


Thursdays in July

Screening the Invisible

Programmed by Peter Schweigert, Ph.D. student, UCI Visual Studies Program

Thursdays in July at 7:00 pm in the Lucille Kuehn Auditorium
(Humanities Instructional Building, Room 100, Bldg.#610 on campus map)
How do you show that which is invisible? This paradoxical question has been a fundamental inquiry in the history of the visual arts as they engage with what is not physically present, including emotions, ideas, the subconscious, etc. The challenge of exploring the invisible and immaterial is especially great for films, for as a photography-based medium, the image on the screen is (nearly) always an image of something---and an image of something is not invisible! While remaining grounded in the real, physical world, the films in this series employ a variety of strategies to address invisible and immaterial subjects such as love, the world of dreams, good and evil, and hope.)

•Free to UCI students, faculty, staff and visitors )
• No need to RSVP )
• Location: Lucille Kuehn Auditorium (Humanities Instructional Building, Room 100, Bldg. #610 on campus map))
• Parking available in the Mesa Structure for $2/hour)
• Free snacks provided to enjoy during the film )
• Participate in a group discussion after the film )
• Programmed by UCI grad students )

July 7th @ 7:00 pm, HIB 100

Waking Life*
Directed by Richard Linklater
(2001, USA, 99 minutes, R)

*This film will be preceded by a silent short, Threnody. Please see the description below for more information about this film.

Waking Life, by noted independent filmmaker Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused, Before Sunrise, School of Rock), is a film that is set within the dream world of its protagonist. What makes the film so interesting for this series is the technique Linklater used to create a visual equivalent of this dream state. Employing an animation process called rotoscoping, the film was first shot as a live-action film, which was subsequently traced over by artists to create an animated world that is, in essence, a tracing of the original live-action film. This technique visually captures the liminal state between sleeping and waking, between the slippery associative subconscious and the rational linear consciousness that the film explores. In raising questions about our relationship with films and the world, Waking Life addresses questions central to this screening series, as well as contributes to the series via its innovative animated strategy of screening the invisible, immaterial, transient world of dreams.

July 7th @6:30 pm, HIB 100

Directed by Nathaniel Dorsky
(2004, USA, 25 minutes, Unrated)

Threnody is a somber but luminous progression through a delicate articulation of earthly phenomena…an offering to a friend who died. It is the second of two devotional songs, the first being The Visitation.

July 14th @ 7:00 pm, HIB 100

Three Colors: Blue
Directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski
(1993, France, 98 minutes, R)

The first of Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Three Colors trilogy, this film adopts, from the start, several immaterial guiding components. First is the color blue, the first color of the French flag, which dominates the film’s color palette. Second, in association with the color, the film explores the first concept of the French national motto “Liberty, equality, fraternity.” Finally, through the narrative, the film explores its central immaterial concept—that of love. A composer whose family is killed in the opening scene, the film centers on Julie’s (Juliette Binoche) attempts to abandon everything associated with her past life and this traumatic event, including human connection and her music which, associated in the film with the color blue, becomes an aural, not-quite-invisible personification of all she has tried to leave behind.

July 21th @ 7:00 pm, HIB 100

Days of Heaven
Directed by Terrence Malick
(1978, USA, 94 minutes, PG)

Days of Heaven’s completion marked the start of celebrated American director Terrence Malick’s 20-year hiatus from filmmaking. Starring Richard Gere, Brooke Adams, and Sam Shepard, the film tells a story of an ill-fated love triangle set on the Texas panhandle in the early 20th century. Or does it? In fact, throughout the film the story is consistently deemphasized as a result of its fragmentary and incomplete narrative. Instead, the visual aspects of the film are foregrounded. Known as a painterly film, one largely shot during the golden-lit “magic hour” of sunset (and a real treat to see on the big screen), Days of Heaven constantly searches the natural, material world for signs and indexes of good and evil. The main way he accomplishes this is through his famously contemplative visual style, in which his subjects are carefully, closely examined in beautifully rich images, and through his poetic narrative strategy, raising questions of the ability of film to discover and record these invisible forces.

July 28th @ 7:00 pm, HIB 100

Taste of Cherry*
Directed by Abbas Kiarostami
(1997, Iran, 95 minutes, Unrated)

*This film will be preceded by a silent short, The Visitation. Please see the description below for more information about this film.

The 1997 co-winner of the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, Abbas Kiarostami’s Taste of Cherry is a good example of an ‘unfinished cinema,’ to use one of Kiarostami’s own terms. Blending documentary style and fiction, the film is populated with local non-actors in a largely understated quest as it follows its protagonist in his search for someone to bury him after his planned suicide. There is much about the film, however, that is left unfinished and unresolved, and many open questions that are left to the viewer’s imagination, opening the possibility of the film transcending its bleak narrative. Indeed, in the way the audience is implicated and engaged, there is hope, if not in the film itself, then in the experience of the film. The film exposes itself as a thin veneer and invites the viewer to peek underneath, a process Hamid Dabashi describes as Kiarostami’s “re-reading of reality…that would make the world once again meaningful and trustworthy.”

July 28th @ 6:30 pm, HIB 100

The Visitation
Directed by Nathaniel Dorsky
(2002, USA, 18 minutes, Unrated)

The Visitation is a gradual unfolding, an arrival so to speak. The director, Nathaniel Dorsky, felt the necessity to describe an occurrence, not one specifically of time and place, but one of revelation in one's own psyche. The place of articulation is not so much in the realm of images as information, but in the response of the heart to the poignancy of the cuts. This is the first of two devotional songs.