Past and present infuse each other with strange energies across this series of films that capture people and places at the border of transformation between motion and stasis, anxiety and possibility. The sun sets on ancient ruins, a shutter opens and closes, and there’s a light in the distance reflecting on the glass of a soldier’s lonely watchtower.
Slow Shift – A threshold between worlds, the ruined city of Hampi in southwest India is an archaeological heritage site, a gateway to an ancient kingdom and home to a troop of wild monkeys. Through subtle layering of sound and image Slow Shift brings life and landscape into sensuous dialogue – temporalities colliding and more-than-human geographies overflowing with energy and friction.
Except this time nothing returns from the ashes – A ghostly, glitched-out poem to under-represented lives in the city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Troubling the silences and exclusions of institutionalised narratives, the film takes inspiration from readings and stories relating to historic African photography studios. Combining elements of animation, text and experimental sound design Asmaa Jama and Gouled Ahmed channel self-portraiture as an act of resistance and refusal – luxuriating in the potential of what Tina Kampt calls the still-moving-image.
The Watchman – “Wake up soldier, open your eyes”. For Halil, days are long and nights are spent in the watchtower waiting for an enemy who never arrives. When a strange light appears on the horizon, his state of limbo is punctured by ghostly apparitions. The Watchmen is a haunting elegy for the pain and absurdity of conflict and a tender evocation of life flowering in its margins.
Slow Shift | Dir. Shambhavi Kaul | India, United States | 2023 | 9m
Except this time nothing returns from the ashes | Dirs. Asmaa Jama, Gouled Ahmed | Ethiopia United Kingdom | 2023 | 16m |
The Watchman | Dir. Ali Cherri | Italy | 2023 | 26m | Turkish with English subtitles
Content warning: Flashing lights/ strobe effects