WHITE LIGHT CINEMA
A NEW ALTERNATIVE FILM SCREENING SERIES
and
THE NIGHTINGALE
A NEW INDEPENDENT SCREENING VENUE
PRESENT

AH, LIBERTY! - FILMS BY BEN RIVERS
WITH UK FILMMAKER BEN RIVERS IN PERSON!
FRIDAY, APRIL 4, 2008

 

 


White Light Cinema and The Nightingale are pleased to co-present an exciting one-person show of the films of Ben Rivers, a rising star in the experimental film world. Rivers has screened at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (where he won a Tiger Award this year), the New York Film Festival's Views from the Avant-Garde, the London Film Festival, The Onion City Experimental Film and Video Festival, among many others.


Rivers' films tend to fall into two categories: minimal, moody riffs on horror film traditions and tropes - particularly those of 1930's Hollywood; and lyrical, poignant experimental documentary portraits of people and places in the British Isles.
“This year's most noteworthy new discovery was the work of Britain's Ben Rivers, a relatively young and highly prolific artist filmmaker. What's most striking about Rivers's work, apart from the sheer physical pleasure of his hazy chiaroscuro, is its resonance with specifically British cinematic traditions… Here's hoping North Americans receive more opportunities to experience Rivers's gentle, poignant cinema.” - Michael Sicinski – Views 2008 - The Academic Hack

 

PROGRAM DETAILS:

White Light Cinema and The Nightingale Present
Ah, Liberty! - Films by Ben Rivers
With Ben Rivers in Person!

Old Dark House – 2003, 4 min, 16mm, b/w
Rooms in an abandoned, burnt out house revealed by multiple in-camera superimpositions of a single torch-light. This marked the start of my hand-processing film, which I continued to use from then on.


House - 2005, 5 min, 16mm, b/w
My first sequel. Another old dark house, where only fragments remain of a once animated domestic history, reoccupied by a history of horror films. Crumbling interiors. Stained, peeling walls and forgotten furniture. Dust sheets on rotting floorboards. The unfolding process of abandonment, decay and renewal. All made on a 1:12 scale.


The Coming Race - 2006, 5 min, 16mm, b/w
A film in which thousands of people climb a rocky mountain terrain. The destination and purpose of their ascension remains unclear. A vague, mysterious and unsettling pilgrimage fraught with unknown intentions.

This Is My Land - 2006, 14 min, 16mm, b/w
A portrait of Jake Williams – who lives alone within miles of forest in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Jake always has many jobs on at any one time, finds a use for everything, is an expert mandolin player, and has compost heaps going back many years. He has a different sense of time to most people in the 21st Century, which is explicitly expressed in his idea for creating hedges by putting up bird feeders.


Dove Coup/Greenhouse – 2007, 2 min each, 16mm, b/w + col
Two sketches


Ah, Liberty! - 2008, 20 min, anamorphic 16mm, b/w
A celebratory portrait of a family’s place in the wilderness – living, working, playing on a farm throughout the seasons; free-range animals and children, junk and nature, all within the most sublime landscape. The work aims at a sense of freedom, the scale of which is reflected in the hand-processed Cinemascope format, and focuses on the youngest of the family to show us what’s what. There’s no particular story; beginning, middle or end, just fragments of lives lived.


“To name an attitude black and white suggests reduction, but in this rural, ethnographic portrait the artist unravels a thousand tones of each. How long does it take until this overflowing bath becomes a lake, until the simple forest drive (there is nothing simple here) transforms these children into airborne angels of light? There is a tender brutality at work here, nothing is polished or smooth or well rounded, instead the adventure of seeing is undertaken ready to fall and bruise, to be wounded by its search. And it is from this necessary wound that the artist joins in with the life of a family grown wild out of doors with the horses and chickens. For its compassion, its refusal of the sentimental, its quick witted montage and dramaturgy of the everyday, the Tiger Award goes to Ah, Liberty!” (Jury Statement, Rotterdam)

 

[Note that the originally scheduled films The Bomb with a Man in His Show and The Hyrcynium Wood did not screen.]

 

This program screens Friday, April 4, 2008 at 8:00 pm at The Nightingale (1084 N. Milwaukee Ave.)


Admission: $5.00.

Very Special Thanks to Ben Russell and Jennifer Fieber for their invaluable assistance in making this program possible.