This time around, La Saison Vidéo is offering Pauline Horovitz a chance to choose one of the films by the two Estonian artists Marko Maëtamm and Mark Raidpere.
The family film is a stylistic exercise which has almost become a cliché (all young filmmakers want to make a film about their ancestor who was so great and led such an exemplary life), so it is a particularly risky exercise. In Maëtamm’s work, the narrator of A Story of a Man Who is Living in the Woods uses a phonily detached tone of voice to describe the tragicomic break-up of his family, with an ending marked by black humour. In Raidpere’s work, family memories, which one detects as being anything but a long, calm experience, are handed to us in snippets. The common denominator of these two videos is the issue of narrative and story. How is fiction to be created? Well, what better material than the family cell? “All happy families are alike, every unhappy family (we would say dysfunctional) has its own story”, to end with Tolstoy’s words.
A Story of a Man Who Is Living in the Woods, 2012, 7 mn
Maëtamm is Estonian, his first name is Marko, and he draws. It so happens that my paternal grandmother’s ancestors would hail from from Latvia, that I have a brother who is called Marc and is incidentally nicknamed Marco, and that, in an earlier life, I drew. But, above all, Marko Maëtamm has a devastating wit which, in A Story of a Man Who is Living in the Woods, calls to mind the tragic-comic, absurd and dark logic at work in writers such as Roald Dahl and the John Irving of Liberté pour les ours/Setting Free the Bears. The man in the woods is at once Job and the father of Hop o’ My Thumb who achieved his ends (getting rid of his wife and children) before marrying the big bad wolf or his equivalent. PH
Pae Street, 2013, 15 mn
After Marko Maëtamm, here is another Mark, Mark Raidpere. Mark Raidpere does not draw, but he runs. He also films as he runs (or he runs as he films). The result is a film-cum-performance, where the body of the person filming becomes a body in motion. These days, everybody does this with Go-Pro cameras; but what is interesting with Raidpere is precisely this shaky camera which embarks us on a narrative in fragments, whose ending (the key) is carried over to the next chapter or the next film. PH
Des châteaux en Espagne, 2013, 26 min
Production : Quark Productions
Avec le soutien du CNC, de Culturesfrance et de la Casa de Velázquez
Des Châteaux en Espagne/Castles in Spain extends my earlier videos in the way attention is paid to “ordinary things” (here Spanish things) and in the re-use of the lunar character created by my father, a version of Tati’s Mr. Hulot. I have also developed an interest in clichés and idioms, taken literally, which provided me with the farcical beginning of the film: almost a performance consisting in going to film all Spain’s castles. This prompted me to broaden my usual setting, that of filming indoors and for the first time filming outdoors, in particular Spain’s landscapes. I worked on different genres, the travel narrative, the western, the phoney family film (without going back to sources, and without any pilgrimage to the East), to construct a kind of tragic-comic “Klezmer western”. PH.