The theme of this year’s BISFF is “the origins of cinema and its future.” The very first films in history were experiments: attempts to create through new technologies an illusion of motion and realism. As the film industry developed, the standard fiction film of entertainment became the dominant form. But the most groundbreaking artists kept looking for ways to push cinema away from realism into the very reality of the film experience: grain, flicker, emulsion, chemistry. Therefore, I assembled this program of films that question the nature of cinema and its illusions.
The three programs focus on different aspects of this experimentation. Patrick Bokanowski has a theory that lenses do not show an objective reality but a subjective one – so he uses lenses that distort and diffract. Some filmmakers attack the film material with acids or chemicals in order to reveal its true nature and structure. Others develop techniques to create new realities that go beyond the imitation of nature. Finally, many filmmakers concentrate on one aspect of film technology, such as the flicker that creates the illusion of motion. By breaking down this illusion, a new reality becomes apparent: that of our own perception.
The origins of cinema were experimental. The future of cinema will also be experimental, as audiences come to expect new experiences from new technologies. Real entertainment will not come from the fiction but from new forms of perception and representation.