Marcos Arriaga: Memory Trails (Toronto, 2016)


Co-presented with York Cinema & Media Arts Department
Thursday November 17, 2016 8pm
Cinecycle, 129 Spadina Avenue, Toronto

From his earliest days as a street photographer for Lima’s left wing newspaper, the artist has lent his compassionate framings to vanishing moments and encounters. He has worked steadily for the past two decades, dividing his movie making between his native Peru – documenting family stories and the disappearances of peasant farmers – and his new roots in Toronto, where he has weighed in on the homeless, or the overlooked wonders of the everyday. Marcos’s sweet spot is public space, the agora, where his keen attentions effortlessly bring to light new and necessary faces. Tonight’s program features a pair of carefully observed 16mm shorts, as well as the Toronto premiere of Marcos’s longest work to date, the sublime Looking for Carmen, researched and shot over a period of years in the mountains of Peru.

Assembly (5 minutes 2012)
This short film that illuminates the struggle of the working class in Lima, Peru, and puts it in relation to the global workers movement. The grainy images, canted perspectives and still images offer a captivating five minutes of social reality in the fight against neoliberalism.

3X16 (10 minutes 2007)
These three short films, each the length of a roll of 16mm film, give the viewer time to gather attention for a suite of unscripted public performances.

Looking for Carmen 68 minutes 2012
In his most ravishing and heartbreaking work, Marcos ventures again to his native Peru in search of a lost friend. Along the way he encounters the faces of those who speak about wounds that cannot heal – survivors recounting the deaths and disappearances of their beloveds during Peru’s civil war that pitted the communists of The Shining Path against the government, with both sides aligned against the people. “The dead have called us to find them,” remarks Lida Flores de Huaman, and Marcos follows her evocation, cutting memory trails into Peru that bring back the names of the disappeared. Using frames that are strong and tender, steady and compassionate, he summons a community of memorials that dare to remember.