curated by Claudia Praolini | reviews by Francesca Marchesini
Ubik is an out-of-competition part of the festival, where the works with the most innovative language find their natural spot. Whereas the aim of short films experimenting new ways of expression has always been one of the core criterion for selecting and evaluating all the films competing at Concorto, the Ubik ones push the limit a bit further, in less-charted territories, where the border between cinema and video fades away. It is a kind of cinema which talks about itself, a cinema which turns its eye towards itself, revealing with no shame the mechanisms upon which video-recording is based. A kind of cinema which, conscious of its structures and language, decides to “unveil the trick”, but exactly thanks to this process, turns the viewing into opaque, as if meta-cinema were a lens which works the other way around, capable of blurring the layers of which reality is made and the experience of viewing itself.
The selected shorts
curated by Claudia Praolini
A History Of The World According To Getty Images by Richard Misek, United States, United Kingdom and Norway, 2022
A Kind Of Testament by Stephen Vuillemin, France, 2023
As Time Passes by Jamil McGinnis, United States and Turkey, 2022
Jill, Uncredited by Anthony Ing, Canada and United Kingdom, 2022
La Mécanique Des Fluides by Gala Hernandez, France and Spain, 2023
Reviews by Francesca Marchesini
A KIND OF TESTAMENT
This short film by Stephen Vuillemin walks the line between life and death, reality and fiction, made more and more blurry by the animation. Through the use of voice-over, the main character recounts the surreal experience of finding some brief animated videos online. They’re based on the pictures she had previously posted on social media. An older, terminally ill namesake woman has rewritten her life story building on the main character’s one, letting these two identities collide. The median (and mediated) encounter between these two women symbolizes a kind of testament from the afterlife, an imaginary warning against wrong choices and second thoughts that, however, have nothing to do with the main character.
LA MECANIQUE DES FLUIDES
Gala Hernandez depicts the issues which stem not only from the digitalization of relationships, but also and above all from social isolation and our inability to handle interpersonal connections on an emotional level. Its innovative forms of expression, consisting of virtually-made images and clips from Youtube videos, display the viewer straight onto the director’s desktop. La Mécanique des Fluides encourages the audience to reflect deeply on the digital wall that people can build around their fragile self; on the resulting psychological consequences, on the empathy – or lack thereof – that we are inclined to feel towards those who turn hardships into rage… All of that without any moralizing narrative, introducing a brilliant, personalized video essay-worthy argument instead.
AS TIME PASSES
In this short film by Jamil McGinnis, an imaginary clock marks the stream of images. As time passes rewinds time as well as the tape; it isn’t a series of personal anecdotes, it offers, however, a glimpse of life, a quick snapshot of caresses, dances, and flower gardens. But also of aging, death, and painful thoughts. The on-screen text is complementary to the story without appearing pedantic, but completing it instead – just like sound, narration, and found footage do; the content and forms of expression act as a heartbeat and blood pumping through the veins.
Starting with creative editing, Anthony Ing’s work offers the audience fragments of cinematic life. While found footage is based on making art out of audiovisual material on film, initially created to satisfy filmmakers’ desire to depict their private sphere, Jill, uncredited sources its material from tv programs and film archives. It doesn’t merely develop one topic, but it instead gives each video clip new meanings. This, by altering visual rhythm and almost exclusively using extra-diegetic music, to portray the good and the bad of human existence itself.
A HISTORY OF THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GETTY IMAGES
Richard Misek reverses the power dynamics previously established in the stock images world to reveal some video clips of relevant world history events to the public. The director’s goal is to give the joy of discovery back to the viewer, as well as the joy of watching and of knowledge beyond the limits imposed by the copyright system. The system isn’t criticized for being a way to protect art, as much as it is for concealing public material. This short film is more of a political statement than a documentary.