Tomorrow, Friday, April 11 sees the opening of the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s inaugural edition of Art of the Real, an expansion of the institution’s former monthly documentary series into a two-week showcase which aims to explode conceptions of nonfiction to boundary-pushing extremes through new and retrospective programming. Curated by the Film Society’s Dennis Lim and independent programmer Rachael Rakes, the series presents more than 50 docs and hybrid projects through Saturday, April 26, opening with Raya Martin and Mark Peranson’s LA ÚLTIMA PELÍCULA and Corneliu Porumboiu’s THE SECOND GAME, and closing with Robert Greene’s ACTRESS (pictured). The following highlights offer a look at other selections:
Among the new films in the series, several are making their North American or US premieres, including: Davi Pretto’s CASTANHA, a blend of fantasy and reality focused on a cross-dressing nightclub host; Sarah Vanagt’s DUST BREEDING, a rumination on memory and media as seen through the international trial of a notorious Bosnian Serb politician accused of war crimes; Eric Baudelaire’s THE UGLY ONE, another meditation on memory and shared trauma; John Torres’ LUKAS THE STRANGE, following the commotion caused by a film shoot in a small Filipino village; and Philipp Hartmann’s TIME GOES BY LIKE A ROARING LION (pictured), an essay on film’s representation of the passage of time.
Lim and Rakes have devoted substantial program space to little-seen past work, including: Raymond Depardon’s 1982 SAN CLEMENTE (pictured), an intimate exploration of the final days of psychiatric hospital and its patients; Thom Anderson and Noël Burch’s 1996 RED HOLLYWOOD, an essay doc exploration of the work of blacklisted filmmakers in Hollywood productions of the 1930s-1950s; Lisandro Alonso’s 2001 LA LIBERTAD, a quotidian portrait of a young Argentinean woodcutter; Alberto Grifi and Massimo Sarchielli’s 1972-1975 ANNA, which questions the relationship between the filmmakers and their troubled subject, a young, pregnant, homeless teen; and Derek Jarman’s 1993 BLUE, the influential director’s last work, reflecting his loss of sight through a blue frame.
The series also presents a retrospective of the work of Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab, and of films that have inspired its makers, presented in collaboration with the Whitney Biennial. Among the less familiar of the former are Stephanie Spray’s AS LONG AS THERE’S BREATH (pictured), focused on a Nepali family’s day-to-day life; and Ernst Karel’s SWISS MOUNTAIN TRANSPORT SYSTEMS, RADIO VERSION (5.1 MIX), a sound-focused project on alpine transports; while the latter includes Vincent Monnikendam’s 1995 MOTHER DAO, THE TURTLELIKE, a study of exploitation based on footage shot by Dutch cameraman in 19212-1932 of their Indonesia colony; and Jean Rouch’s 1954/1967 ethno-fiction, JAGUAR, which follows three men on a quest for work and adventure from Niger to the Gold Coast.