Shadows, Specters, and Shards: Making History in Avant-Garde Film – From the Pole to the Equator

Posted by | Conversations at the Edge | Posted on | December 8, 2005

Thursday, December 8, 2005, 6pm | Jeffrey Skoller in person!

The last part of a trio of screenings related to the release of the Department of Film, Video and New Media’s Jeffrey Skoller’s book Shadows, Specters, and Shards: Making History in Avant-garde Film. The Flow of Blood and Life From the Pole to the Equator is a monumentally unique documentary. Drawing on the film archives of pioneer documentary filmmaker Luca Comerio (1874-1940), Italian filmmakers Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi use turn-of-the-century footage from regions that were then fabulously exotic – the Arctic, India, Africa and less remote but equally striking settings in the Dolomites and the Caucasus – and assembled it at a sleepwalker’s pace, with changeable color tints and a humming electronic score. The result offers haunting glimpses of a world in the process of being conquered. There’s no moralizing commentary to point up the contradictions that inevitably arise here—each viewer is left to dream his/her way through a phantasmagoria that extends the definition of Empire—building to the act of photography itself (Janet Maslin). 1987, Angela Ricci Lucchi & Yervant Gianikian, Germany/Italy/West Germany, 96 min, 16mm.

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