Thursday, January 28, 2016

Philip Hoffman III: Experimental Processes

P(l)ain Truth. Please click to enlarge.
Philip Hoffman III: Experimental Processes
DocPoint, Helsinki
Total duration of the screening: 69 min.

Introduced by Sami van Ingen, presented by Philip Hoffman.
After the show there was a discussion with Seppo Renvall, Marjatta Oja, Denise Ziegler, Mikko Maasalo, Philip Hoffman, and Sami van Ingen.
Cinema Orion, 28 Jan 2016

Vapautemme hinta / [The Price of Our Freedom]
Finland / 1990 / 10 min / 16 mm, silent
Director: Seppo Renvall
Production: Helsingin elokuvapaja
National Audiovisual Institute (KAVI)
Catalogue: The faces of Finland's casualties of war stare back at the living, in rapid succession, to reveal "one" tragic image. - AA: The book Vapautemme hinta [The Price of Our Freedom] lists all the casualties of Finland's Winter War 1939-1940. Renvall creates a minimalist monument shooting the images frame by frame, achieving a disturbing fusion of the deceased.

Finland / 1992 / 4 min / digital
Director: Juha van Ingen
Distribution: AV-arkki
Catalogue: A fragment of a 1950's feature film [The Fly] is copied as many times as possible displaying eventually the seams of the media. - AA: Two lines of dialogue from The Fly about teletransportation ("yes, but this time it's different") are repeated ad infinitum or at least 17 times, each copy fading more and more until there is only static.

Kalvo XI (Membrane XI)
Finland / 1990 / 7 min / digital
Director: Marjatta Oja
Distribution: AV-arkki
Catalogue: Someone is taking pictures behind a plane of glass. One by one the pictures are placed on the glass and slowly develop before our eyes to reveal the subject of the picture taking. - AA: How Polaroid images emerge beyond an armored glass. Finally there is a set-up of six Polaroids filling the screen.

Pyhä yksinkertaisuus (Holy Simplicity)
Finland / 1991 / 4 min / 16 mm
Directors: Mikko Maasalo, Denise Ziegler
National Audiovisual Institute (KAVI)
Catalogue: This Lettrist film is a dazzling blend of text from Das Mondschaft, a poem by the German author Christian Morgenstern, shot from a computer screen, with a relentless looping soundtrack. - AA: A Lettrist film poem blends with the sound of a sacred religious ritual.

Finland / 1991 / 10 min / 2K DCP [KAVI 2016], silent
Director: Sami van Ingen
Distribution: Sami van Ingen
Catalogue: Childhood angst is rekindled in this dark meditation on obsession and loss. - AA: The world seen from the viewpoint of a hamster.

Canada / 1995 / 15 min / 16 mm
Director: Philip Hoffman
Editing: Philip Hoffman, Vesa Lehko
Music: Tucker Zimmerman
Sound: Philip Hoffman, Vesa Lehko
Production: Chimera Imaging
Distribution: Philip Hoffman
Catalogue: Shot in Helsinki, Leningrad, London, Cairo, Sydney and Uluru, during a time of tremendous change (1989–92), Chimera makes use of the single-frame zoom that builds a ‘splayed reality’, blends and bonds peoples, places and spaces. - AA: A collection of visions of cities. There is a powerful musical rhythm that leads the montage, sometimes building to a flicker effect. The starting-point is figurative, but the film tends towards the non-figurative, driven by blurred colour.

P(l)ain Truth
Finland / 1993 / 15 min / 35 mm
Director: Ilppo Pohjola
Editing: Arto Salo
Music: Glenn Branga
Production: Ilppo Pohjola / Crystal Eye
Distribution: Elokuvakontakti
Catalogue: Internal, psychological space is boldly reflected in P(l)ain Truth. Through an expressive musical score, and with frenetic and kinetic optical printing techniques, changes in mind and body during trans-gendering processes are revealed. - AA: Ilppo Pohjola's furious vision of sex change holds up remarkably well. A shattering but focused and purposeful view of a fundamental transformation and metamorphosis.

By the Time We Got To Expo
Canada / 2015 / 9 min, digital
Director: Philip Hoffman, Eva Kolcze
Script: Philip Hoffman, Eva Kolcze
Editing: Philip Hoffman, Eva Kolcze
Sound: Joshua Bonnetta
Production: Chimera Imaging
Distribution: Philip Hoffman
Catalogue: Re-visiting a significant moment in Canadian history, the film uses found footage imagery taken from documentaries, and re-works them using tints and photochemical techniques to create a vibrant collision of colors, textures and forms in a display of beauty and decay. - AA: New from Philip Hoffman and Eva Kolcze: recycled footage from Canada's 1967 Expo. It starts as a found footage travelogue and builds into a phantom ride in another dimension. Hoffman let the film stock decay with chemicals to show its texture that he then shot digitally.

DocPoint catalogue and website: torn formations / The Films of Philip Hoffman. "The Philip Hoffman “introretrospective” is made up of five screenings that include both Hoffman’s own films and the works of his Finnish collegues. The programme has been curated by Philip Hoffman and the Finnish film maker Sami van Ingen."

"The limits of cinematic expression have changed and expanded, and also our historical awareness has developed. Canadian experimental filmmaker Philip Hoffman has deep and solid roots in Finland. He has worked twice as a teacher in the University of Art and Design Helsinki during the 1990s , and his influence is prominent in the work of several filmmakers who started their careers back then. Highly personal subject matter and experimentation are the key concepts of Philip Hoffman’s work, which, on the other hand, is also a visual body of memory and emotions." Perttu Rastas, Senior Planning Officer, Finnish National Gallery

Experimental Processes

"The program is inspired by the relationship Hoffman had with Finnish film and video artists in the early 1990’s, which assisted in the establishment and development of the first Finnish experimental film cooperative, Elokuvapaja. With funding assistance from AVEK, workshops and screenings were held for and with Finnish film and media artists, and this activity heavily influenced Hoffman’s own work in hand processing and image manipulation. It was a fertile time of beginnings. These collaborations influenced Hoffman in the creation of the Independent Imaging Retreat or ‘Film Farm’ in Mount Forest, Canada, which has just had its 20th Anniversary. Over the years several Finnish filmmakers visited the ‘Film Farm’. As well, Hoffman curated programs of new Finnish work, at Pleasure Dome in Toronto, and at The Fabulous Festival of Fringe Film in Durham Ontario in Canada."

AA: Philip Hoffman's show was a warm family reunion. He has inspired many in Finland. Sami van Ingen, Seppo Renvall, Marjatta Oja, Denise Ziegler, Mikko Maasalo joined him after the show in front of the audience. Others, like Kiti Luostarinen, were also attending. "I came here in the late 1980s", he stated, and about the influences he claimed that "I was probably more influenced by them".

A showcase in approaches in material aesthetics, repetition, meta-film, exposing the seams of the medium, and studying the transition zone from the figurative to the non-figurative. Also in approaches in expressing transience, memory, time, and decay. And extreme mental states in a situation of a disturbing transformation.

Several films were screened in glorious 16 mm without problems. The vintage 35 mm distribution print of P(l)ain Truth betrays that it has been screened many times. Other films have been scanned to digital by AV Arkki and us. Our recent 2K DCP from Sami van Ingen's Hammu did not look bad at all.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

thank you Antti for your richly astute observations! I have linked your writings to my website at
best regards to you and all my Finnish friends - Philip