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REMODERNIST FILM

...NOw ThaT bEINg SaID, SOME OF ThESE FILMS ThaT aRE accuSED OF bEINg bORINg, aRE acTuaLLy juST bORINg.

Meeks Cutoff (2010)

Last Days (2005)

The Turin Horse (2011) Tree Of Life (2011)

stunt atmosphere that surrounds Lars Von Trier. It is very difficult for me to take anything that he is involved with very seriously. There is something disingenuous and gimmicky about him and everything that he does. One of the most potentially problematic aspects of The Remodernist Manifesto is its endorsement of authenticity, a concept that is at best vague in relation to film, and Richards expands on this when questioned about its ramifications. Authenticity is a bit of a problem conceptually, because for one thing, what you see as authentic might be far different from what I see as authentic. The approach of baring yourself in your art or films is not a bad thing if you are able to do it and therefore would lead to more films that have authenticity. The main thing though is that the manifesto is really meant to be directed towards filmmakers specifically, and to be made use of as part of the creative process. But what about setting himself up as an arbiter of a works authenticity? The thing of judging films as authentic or inauthentic is certainly problematic, Richards replies. Im more interested in the idea of environments being created that encourage a filmmaker to create something more authentically. Nearly everything interferes with that process, whether that be censorship brought on by social or cultural expectations, self censorship as a response to those expectations, censorship of the market, or censorship of form. There have been a number of short films made under the Remodernist banner since the manifesto was first published, with dedicated screenings in both America and the UK, including retrospective and group screenings at Stuckist affiliated galleries. These screenings have featured films by Peter Rinaldi, Jesse Richards, Wolf Howard, Billy Childish and Harris Smith, and more retrospectives are planned with the release of the forthcoming feature, In Passing. Produced by Jesse Richards, this feature film is one of the first two full length films to have been made directly by those associated with the Remodernism movement and the manifesto, with the other being Closure Of Catharsis by Rouzbeh Rashidi. In Passing is a portmanteau film consisting of seven separate works created by a filmmaker affiliated with The Remodernist Manifesto: Rouzbeh Rashidi, Heidi Elise Beaver, Dean Kavanagh, Peter Rinaldi, Kate Shults, Christopher Michael Beer and Roy Rezaali. These are filmmakers from across the world, united only in their separate yet collaborative exploration of Remodernisms creative objectives. While both Rinaldi and Beaver met Richards through film school, the other contributors were filmmakers

who had gotten in touch with Richards after reading the manifesto. I started a Facebook group where we began discussing Remodernism, and at some point, I suggested that we make a collaborative Remodernist feature film, he recalls. Eventually it was decided that each filmmaker would make a film in response to my manifesto, and that each piece would be roughly ten minutes. Although a filmmaker, Richards worked solely as a producer on In Passing. I felt that it would be arrogant and stupid, really to make my own short that would be in response to a manifesto that I wrote. With each filmmaker financing their own contribution, the overall production cost was literally non-existent. Working as the producer, Richards role was occasionally advisory, but primarily consisted of organising the filmmakers, resolving any conflicts, and establishing the running order of the final feature film. With that work completed, Richards is now working on marketing In Passing, designing advertising and trailers, and arranging distribution, with international retrospective and festival screenings now in the pipeline. The film is neither a fully experimental work, nor a movie fixated on classic narrative; rather, In Passing explores the passing of time and the relation of time to cinematic space. Often focusing on intimate yet small details the table top exploration of a crustacean, the patter of rain on a window, cats at play, the ocean shot from a moving car, a couple looking into a camera knowing that the film they are making will fail and finding something lyrically poignant and even personal within these transient moments. There are scenes in which people seem to vanish, no longer seen onscreen, yet the space they once occupied still resonates with their echoes, moving through the poetic sublime. In common with Wim Wenders, Jim Jarmusch and Gus Van Sant, and films like Meeks Cutoff, there is a sense of homesickness to the films that make up In Passing. This sense of homesickness is not necessarily rooted in a sense of being away from home, but in the sense that even at home, the protagonists are still searching for their place within the day-to-day world. Richards confirms this. All of the In Passing films have some degree of an aura of loneliness, homesickness, displacement or longing to find ones place. For Richards, this sense of longing is central to the tenants of Remodernism. For these filmmakers that participated, for myself in my own work, and likely for many of the people that create under the banner of Remodernism, the spiritual is about locating humanity within a wider world.

Its a lonely time for many of us now. Or maybe its always been that way. In addition to movies directly connected to the community around The Remodernist Manifesto, other films are gradually emerging from independent filmmakers who have subsequently contacted Richards to inform him that they have made a work under the influence of his manifesto. Richards has also run across a fair amount of films that have labeled themselves as Remodernist by people that Ive never been in contact with at all, or who I reached out to long after their films were made. As Richards is careful to observe, The Remodernist Manifesto was intended to have its own existence. I like the idea that people are picking up the thing that I started with, and are running with it on their own. Richards was surprised, however, when he discovered that Hungarian director Bela Tarr, whose feature, The Turin Horse (2011), premiered at The Berlin International Film Festival, described the movie as Remodernist Cinema in the films production notes. I had no idea that was happening until I read it in a Reuters article, confesses Richards. He has mentioned Tarr in Remodernist essays, and even talked about his influence in interviews. I talk about his work, particularly Satantango (1994), which I actually saw after writing the manifesto, but it pretty much exemplifies what I had in mind. Somebody asked Tarr about his connection to Remodernist film, and he didnt want to talk about it at all he said all that talking about modernism stuff is for critics. From what I understand about Tarr, he just hates to talk about any of that stuff. My assumption is that if Tarr let Remodernist Cinema into his production notes, then he probably agrees with whats been said, which means probably as far as hes concerned, theres nothing else that needs to be said by him about it. Thats fair enough. Beyond promoting In Passing, Richards is developing new Remodernist projects including film adaptations of work by Knut Hamsun and Rainer Maria Rilke, as well as what would be the first Remodernist horror film, a vampire compendium tentatively entitled Blood And Laudanum, where the collected films will take works by some of the poetes maudits [such as Charles Baudelaire and Paul Verlaine] as a starting point. And what of the debate about contemplative, personal work that exists with different ambitions to the blockbuster orientated mainstream? There is a connection between some of the films that Scott and Dargis have been defending in The New York Times during the contemplative cinema debate, and what we have in mind with Remodernist film. Just the nature of asking a filmmaker to look inward, and at the same time to acknowledge smaller moments or the moments between big moments, will result in films that will feel contemplative on some level. Many of the people that are drawn to Remodernism will also be concerned with duration, with quiet, with textures, and will think of action in a way that avoids unnecessary action. Now that being said, some of these films that are accused of being boring, are actually just boring. He gives an example. Many of the filmmakers from In Passing are not crazy about Apichatpong Weerasethakul or his film, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010). On the other hand, most of us love Andrei Tarkovsky, Bela Tarr and Chris Marker. The slow and quiet is often a great thing, but the texture needs to be there too, and maybe some darkness. Richards also observes that there are two additions to the influential canon that he first praised in the manifesto: Jean Rollin and Jesus Franco. They made a fair amount of shitty films throughout their careers, but they were amazing at being able to embrace their obsessions, fears and sexual fantasies and run with them, and at the same time, make work that was extremely beautiful. He cites Francos A Virgin Among The Living Dead and Rollins Lips Of Blood. One of the big things that I missed on that list of influences are filmmakers like those the ones that address the shadows. n
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