Semih Kaplanoglu's Golden Bear winning drama Honey (Bal) kickstarted Brighton's mini film festival last weekend.
Winner of Golden Bear at the 2010 Berlin Film Festival, Honey (Bal) byTurkish director Semih Kaplanoglu kickstarted the programme on Sunday. The autobiographical film is the final installment of a trilogy and observes the relationship between six-year-old Yusuf and his beekeeper father. Suffering from a stutter, Yusuf is gently coaxed into whispering with his father at home, while at school he struggles to read aloud, yearning to be awarded with a badge in class.
Honey expresses the reverence Yusuf has for his father and the nature surrounding him. Sticking close to his point of view the film studies the six-year-old’s logic with awe and humour; his jealous little face when he watches his dad give his cousin what he believes to be a hand carved sailboat he had been admiring, or his attempts to capture the moon in his hands as its reflection glows in a bucket of water one night.
Misty mountains and luscious vegetation surround the family home, of which the natural lighting enriches the earthy warm colours. With essences of Victor Erice’s The Spirit of the Beehive, Honey is a tender, beautiful and contemplative evocation of a child’s experience of a complex world.
Monday night featured a double-bill of magic lantern shows from Professor Mervyn Heard and his mahogany and brass built lantern. Accompanied by his unique sense of humour, he elaborated on his ancient hand painted slides and history of magic lanterns and phantasmagorias. Popularised in Paris, phantasmagorias involved a magic lantern on wheels, tracking to and fro to increase the size of a ghoulish image so it would appear to be coming closer to the audience.
The viewers would typically have a meltdown – utterly scrambled by the magic of it all – and flee the theatre under the threat of supernatural attack. A highlight in Mervyn’s collection was an example of the 1820s copper plate process, in which an identical outline was printed onto two slides. The two outlines would be filled in differently and the magic lantern would cross fade from one to another, evoking the sense of day rolling into night – or vice versa.
The Curiosity Show was followed by ‘Professor H***d’s Erotic Lantern Show’, charting the popularity of prurient imagery that boomed in the 1870s – most of which was French. With cheeky nudes for the waiting rooms of brothels, and a handful of more graphic poses, H***d pointed out that the men in this genre tended to be artists with berets. Although these tableaux lacked the magic lantern’s peekaboo style movement, the stillness spoke for itself.
One set of faceless nudey slides featured a man in nothing but a sensible cardigan embarking on more scientific than erotic poses with a woman. In the vein of fantasy the show concluded with William Mortensen who pioneered photo-fiddling in the 1920s by scraping images and adding details.
Pop Up Cinema wrapped up with Selected, a set of nine films picked by artists shortlisted for the 2010 Film London Jarman Award. The award was created to celebrate the investigative and experimental spirit displayed in Jarman’s work. Nature and illumination of the senses weaved through the films. The General Returns from one Place to Another by Michael Robinson was poetic and compelling; soft and fuzzy crackling sounds, a Twin Peaks air of unease in the woods and magnified vegetation culminate in a sonic meltdown.
Chooc Ly Tan contributed with a batty little short called New Materials in the Readings of the World; a high-pitched excited burst of narration about Oubliism. Clips of urban development, scientific experimentation and sounds of electronic confusion visually supported this rethinking of human existence based on chaos theory and cosmic revolution. The most powerful was Ben Russell’s enigmatic Trypps #6.
Described as 'Andrei Tarkovsky for the jungle crowd', the film drifts behind a group of people in a South American village emerging from a hut in Halloween masks, proceeding to a gathering in the village, to engage in tribal dancing and what appeared to be an energetic fertility ritual. Both hypnotic and menacing, the film generates a hallucinatory impression of detachment.
Cinecity tied it all up with a late night showing of Spike and Mike’s Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation – bit like a frenzied YouTube session, but with some fantastic highlights like Pes’ Western Spaghetti – sound and image sizzling together with pure imaginative brilliance, and Brad Neely’s deadpan George Washington rap, 'Washington, Washington, six foot 20, fucking killing for fun.' Catchy...
For more info visit cine-city.co.uk/pop-up-cinema