On May 22nd we’ll be screening videos in the very first film studio started in Sweden. The old studio building of Svenska Bio is now the local Museum of Film in Kristianstad. The rooftop terrace was formerly used as an outdoor studio, where cameras could take advantage of the light conditions better than they could indoors. Stage sets depicting indoor environments were built on the rooftop terrace, and indoor scenes were shot outdoors. Sometimes, in old films, you can see tablecloths flapping in the wind, or the breath of the actors forming clouds because of the cold, disturbing the illusion. At the moment we’re looking around for some short clips of these ghostly breaths, in order to add them to the screening.
In this former rooftop studio we’ll be screening a program of videos beginning with Workers Leaving The Factory by the brothers Lumière, allegedly the first film shown in a cinema, a 40 second clip of workers literally exiting the factory gates. From there, we expand upon the title by association. Makwayela was made by Jean Rouch, a visual anthropologist, and Jacques D’Arthuys, a cultural attaché, in Mocambique in 1978. A group of people who used to work in the mines in South Africa have returned to Mocambique after their country won its’ independence from Portugal and formed a new socialist nation. The former miners now work in a bottle factory. Each morning they gather outside the factory to perform a dance together, called the Makwayela, and to sing, before starting the days’ work. The song performed in the film begins with a call to tear down capitalism and imperialism. Then the lyrics switch from portuguese to a secret language called fanakalo. Fanakalo was used in the mines in South Africa, by miners who would communicate without being understood by their overseers. We’ve provided the film with its’ first ever subtitles, with kind assistance from Isabel Löfgren who translated the portuguese into english. The bits in fanakalo have been left untranslated, and the secret language remains secret. A Ruda Roadmovie by Marie Bondeson is an old favorite of ours, and we’ve written about it on this blog before. In short, the film shows Douglas Fransson from the village Ruda as he takes the artist on a tour of the village, pointing out to her all the local businesses and public services that have had to close down as a consequence of the outsourcing of the main company in town, Mateco. The verbal delivery of Douglas Fransson is deadpan and laconic, and the village seems to be all but shut down. Black Of Death by Chim↑Pom shows the Japanese artist group gathering a huge flock of crows in the evacuated contaminated zone near Fukushima, and leading them across the landscape towards the offices of TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company. A stuffed crow dangled from the rear of a motorcycle, and the sound of crows calling played through a megaphone, gradually draws together a growing number of crows, a black cloud of death. Finally, the film Sekvens 1 och 2 i Huaröd 2 is a repeating loop of a film shot by artist and poet Beata Berggren in her former home village Huaröd, just south of Kristianstad. Scenes recorded around the pump at an umanned gasstation, some staged and some documentary, repeat themselves as day turns to night. Fragments of text and sound are added according to an associative logic. Here’s the Filmmuseum in Kristianstad