Tuesday, April 08, 2008

This plot synopsis is empty

As I enter the final phases of postproduction on Immobilité, my second feature-length artwork in the Foreign Film Series, I occasionally distract myself by researching other arthouse films on the web. At IMDB I recently came across my old teacher Alain Robbe-Grillet's La Belle Captive. I was struck by the generic template phrase under Plot Synopsis:
This plot synopsis is empty. Add a synopsis.
That seems fitting, I thought to myself, knowing Robbe-Grillet's body of work. In fact, one could say that my own Immobilité, shot entirely with a Nokia N95 mobile phone in Cornwall, UK, during the summer of 2007, is in fact a work where the "plot synopsis is empty" and yet in its emptiness, invites the viewer to "add a synposis" of their own. If they dare ...

In a recent grant application, I tried to summarize a response to the dreaded "What is it about?" question that haunts all grant applications:
The specific location shoots for the initial production take place in Cornwall, United Kingdom, and feature local actors whose characters go the names "Etc." and "…" and who appear to be living in an unpopulated "other-world" where they communicate with each other in a silent language while living in a future time that looks back on our contemporary hypermediated time. In this way, the work is able to critically reflect on the fluidity of emerging identities in our current cyberculture from both philosophical and literary (fictional) perspectives.
But that's grantspeak; hardly a synopsis, and although the "silent language" the so-called "characters" communicate in is certainly not one you would "hear" via normal live action dialogue, the silence is filled with the transmission of images and text that speak volumes. You just can't say that in a grant app.

Another attempt off the top of my head:
Four characters: two women who go by the code names "Etc." and "..." (names that are never mentioned in the film), a man with a mobile phone video camera (who is never seen), and a wild landscape that when looked at, transforms the world (which is finally never truly rendered).

Memory World

One shared mission: to intersubjectively circulate in the creative advance of images becoming memory (source material) until the advance itself dissipates and the images completely disappear to the point where all mobility is lost.

Genre: Differential Fields.
But that doesn't quite capture it either.

Self-mocking summarization:
Painfully obscure rendering of what an arthouse cinematic flow shot on mobile phone and remixed as a 75 minute ad for Nokia might look like?

Creative Apparatus

No, not that either.

As I wrote toward the end of the production while on location in Cornwall, there is a certain kind of truth in marketing when it comes to the painterly light of the environment as it attracts this work's co-poietic unfolding.

The Last Horizon

[All images from the Immobilité production]

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