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Lecture

Mike Hoolboom

Film video and lecture

a retrospective in four parts

With more than forty intriguing and sometimes brilliant films behind his name, Mike Hoolboom is one of Canada’s most important filmmakers. In his films, Hoolboom at times can be a fervent agitator and other times show warm engagement. His work is animated and intelligent, and forms a pleasant oasis in the present-day production of independent film. Most of Hoolboom’s films have been constructed from archive material, home movies and fragments from feature films. By means of montage, voice-over and virtuoso application of various editing techniques, Hoolboom bends the material to his will and uses it to shape ideas around basic themes such as life and death, eroticism, civilisation and memories. Other recurrent themes in Hoolboom’s films include the significance of (cinematic) images in our society, the boundaries between public and private images and the search for the stories hidden in home movies, in particular. These elements lurking under the surface of the film material also play an important part in the three new films by Mike Hoolboom which will premiere at the Impakt Festival: In the Dark, Jock and Carol.

PROGRAM 1: IMITATIONS OF LIFE

Wednesday, 4 June, 20.00h, Black Box
Monday, 9 June, 15.00h, Black Box

IMITATIONS OF LIFE
video / 01:15:00 / Canada / 2003
This ten-part video strains childhood through a history of reproduction, culling pictures from the Lumiéres to the present day in order to find
the future in our past.

Imitations of Life consists of:
In the Future (3 min)
Jack (15 min)
Last Thoughts (7 min)
Portrait (4 min)
Secret (2 min)
In My Car (5 min)
The Game (5.5 min)
Scaling (5 min)
Imitation of Life (21 min)
Rain (3.5 min)

PROGRAM 2: GHOST COUNTRIES

Thursday, 5 June, 13.30h, Cinema
Saturday, 7 June, 22.00h, Cinema

ESCAPE IN CANADA
16mm / 00:09:00 / Canada / 1993
The cross-country travelogue which is the basis of this film was made in the forties. Sponsored by the Canadian government this documentary is pitched towards an American understanding, unfolding the blank geography of its northern neighbour as a playground for the leisure class.

MEXICO
16mm / 00:35:00 / Canada / 1992 (made with Steve Sanguedolce)
Although the film’s initial context is a languidly dystopic trip from Toronto to Mexico and back again, its true subject is power: the power inscribed in the unseeing gaze of the tourist, the power manifest in the North American Free Trade Agreement that was signed in 1992. Under NAFTA Mexican workers threaten to be divided up by American and Canadian corporations tired of living wages, labour unions and environmental regulations.

PASSING ON
16mm / 00:20:00 / Canada / 1998
Hoolboom records the loss of loved ones whose features he stares at with lasting affection. Beautifully simple recuring shots of the white square with black lines crossing it represent the realm of the hereafter, where the ghosts go. With contained and poignant lyricism, Passing On addresses itself to death as something familiar, death which prowls and throws into relief the images of a cinema trying to resist another death, no doubt worse, a white death of memories forgotten. (Jean Perret)

PROGRAM 3: BOOKS OF BLOOD

Thursday, 5 June, 15.00h, Cinema
Sunday, 8 June, 22.00h, Cinema

IN THE DARK
video / 00:08:00 / Canada / 2003
A meditation on silence, birth and the Canadian cinema, sealed with a kiss.

FRANK’S COCK
16mm / 00:08:00 / Canada / 1993
An elegy for the departed Frank who died of AIDS. Its strength rests in the emotional and soul-bearing delivery of memories from his lover Callum Rennie. As the film proceeds the monologue intensifies, the screen splits and the images become more explicit.

MODERN TIMES
16mm / 00:04:00 / Canada / 1991
Modern Times is a little essay on what happens to the human body when it meets a movie camera.

RED SHIFT
16mm / 00:02:00 / Canada / 1991
Mike Hoolboom’s Red Shift asks the question: how much can you say in two minutes about language, translation and living at the end of the century? The answer, of course, is everything.

IN THE CINEMA
16mm / 00:01:00 / Canada / 1992
The main character in this film is the title delivered in a long sequence of intertitles: “In the cinema no one speaks unless they have something to say, while in real life it’s just the opposite.” After the titles, a man answers a tele- phone and says the same thing. A film about naming, actors and paternity.

DEAR MADONNA
16mm / 00:05:00 / Canada / 1996
While we see Madonna being worshipped and exercising power over slick and handsome men in a fashionable clip, singing “Express yourself”, the lower part of the screen is occupied by a passing text of modest design. It appears to be a letter from Jason, her fictional humble servant, who, in his limitless admiration (there was no life before Madonna), takes the singers themes a step further: power, sadomasochism, eroticism and sexual desire are reflected upon in blunt language.

JOCK
video / 00:17:00 / Canada / 2003
In photography the act of looking is also the act of shooting. A girl on a beach, naked, her only company the photographer. WHAT choice does she have except to swallow these images, to become what he beheld ?

LETTERS FROM HOME
16mm / 00:15:00 / Canada / 1996
Letters From Home is an impassioned investigation of the politics of disease.

PROGRAM 4: GHOSTS

Thursday, 5 June, 16.30h, Cinema

An artists talk by Mike Hoolboom, including o.a. the screening of his new film Carol. See ‘couch.club’.


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