Cinema2 Home+Movies

Program curated by Paolo Simoni, Sergio Fant and Pauline de Raymond

Cinema2 is the section of Cinema Ritrovato dedicated to found footage and various other forms of cinema recycling. This year, a “+” sign represents the value added to original images by the work of the filmmaker who takes on the delicate task of reworking home movies.

The first program wants to go inside the family, to observe and deconstruct its functioning from within, through several films by authors who work directly on images from their personal family history. With Mort à Vignole, Olivier Smolders reflects on the nature of home movies (not just his own), and more generally on the relationship between cinema and death. In Der Fater, Christine Noll Brinckmann “settles the score” with her father through amateur films and home movies he shot in the thirties. In J’espère que vouz allez bien, Boris Van der Avoort unites in a single embrace films from three generations: that of his grandparents, his parents, and his own. Finally, This Side of Paradise is not, in the true sense of the term, a found footage film, but a film of editing at a distance: in just 1999, Jonas Mekas assembled material shot many summers before when he frequented the Kennedy family, “teaching cinema” to little John Jr. and Caroline shortly after the death of their father.

The second program aims to analyze and subvert the mechanisms of home movies, showing examples of how they can be taken apart, put back together, and manipulated. To place the films into a sort of theoretical catalogue, the vacation films, for example, are brought together with typological precision, such as in Adria where the steady hand of Gustav Deutsch “operates”. But even a single gesture, reiterated, can become protagonist: in Happy-End by Peter Tscherkassky, incessant rounds of toasts within the family, repeated over the years, become a dominant and distressing motif. But home movies can also be grouped according to emulsion, as is the case of Home Movie by Cécile Fontaine, where the image support is “tortured” into revealing its secrets to the gaze. They can tell stories, like Lisl Ponger’s Passagen with its touristy images that serve an oral account of other travels, of emigration, of exile. Or they can recount History, as in Günther 1939 by Johannes Rosenberger: the label on the found reel (“Heil Hitler!”) tells no lies as to the content and the “good” faith of any nazi family. The final variation comes with Die Bilder by Marcel Schwierin, where anonymous home movies in color meet up with bergfilms from the twenties. Memory leads you far away, where you would least expect, on the highest peaks or the petals of a flower, fragments that come together with a grace and intensity that only reediting can evoke so poetically.