Within the annual Close-up section, MIEFF will screen for the first time in Russia the works of American avant-garde filmmaker Nathaniel Dorsky.
Dorsky’s pictures shot on 16mm film naturally resist the inertia of the modern-day world, marked by pervasive digitalization, increasing pace of life, and epidemics. His silent collages, meticulously edited in accordance with the unique “polyvalent” technique, can only be shown using a film projector with a powerful xenon lamp that can operate at a silent speed of 18 frames per second. Such exactingness to the display conditions is not accidental. Outlining his philosophy of cinema in Devotional Cinema, Dorsky writes about the ability of film to influence the viewer’s metabolism and health. Any genuine art, be it Mozart’s music or Rossellini’s movies, has the alchemical power of transforming the soul and works as pure energy rather than as a set of symbols or a narrative. But revealing this property requires extreme delicacy, which Dorsky finds in a special form of humanism—in assimilating a film to a person and endowing it with appropriate qualities, such as tenderness, curiosity, fears, pacification, the sense of entering or leaving the world, softness, or changeability. Only silence, the humane light of celluloid projection, and the slow speed allowing the elusive to be seen can provide an intimate union between the viewer and the screen, transforming images into pure healing energy.
In the twenty-first century, screenings of Dorsky’s films have become unique visual performances, providing an experience reminiscent of contemplating original artworks rather than reproductions. At the request of the author, the two-part program features his recent works, made over the past six years, including a dedication to Jane Wodening, a writer and the widow of the acclaimed avant-garde filmmaker Stan Brakhage, a film-reflection on the director’s own health, and pictures made during lockdown.
Program curator: Dmitry Frolov