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City of Pirates

As part of the ongoing Double Ghosts exhibition for the 15th Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival, George Clark present the film City of Pirates

A 1983 surrealist French fantasy film directed by Chilean filmmaker Raúl Ruiz, City of Pirates follows a young woman called Isidore through multiple episodes of seemingly disconnected and dreamlike events.

'There is no city of course, just a spooky castle on a rocky island. There are echoes of the quintessential Surrealist film, L'Age d'or. Perhaps it should be read as a film fantastique, sharing something of the trance-like, morbid poetry of Maya Deren and the paranoid Manicheism of early '60s English SF cinema. The tumescent, terrible sexuality that drives the narrative takes on a vampirish quality. Oral sadism and cannibalism underpin its images. Much of the pleasure comes from the aesthetic means Ruiz employs to suggest the Surreality inhabited by his desiring machines. His maniacs live in, and for, contradiction. Surprise, invention, paradox are his touchstones. He believes in affirmation through irony, the clarity of enigma, deferred resolution, outlandish change of mood. What binds Ruiz's lost souls to each other's desire is an Oedipal, narcissistic quest for identity. Desire depends upon creating an unbridgeable distance to ensure infinite pursuit of the object. Cinema is the ideal location for such doomed searches for the cathartic image, for recapturing the eternal, dangerous moment of looking.' -Paul Hammond, Monthly Film Bulletin, 1985

The screening will be followed by an Artist Talk with George Clark in the Henry Travers Studio.
Year: 2019

The Maltings is operated by The Maltings (Berwick) Trust Registered Charity No: 701194