Filmexplorer with Jean Perret (November 2018)

published in: Filmexplorer
November 2018
text: Guiseppe Di Salvatore
Audio/Video: Ruth Baettig

At the International Kurzfilmtage Winterthur, we might meet Mike Hoolboom, main guest at this year’s festival. Kindly hosted by the Haus of Winterthur, Filmexplorer has recorded Jean Perret in dialogue with a charming artist whose talk is simply magnetic; a dialogue between two friends that touches important topics on the form of creative filmmaking.

Many of Mike Hoolboom’s images are found footage, but this material is not a tool for nostalgic contemplation. More than on memory, Hoolboom is focused on the living presence of the document. Under his treatment, the filmic matter takes life, becomes organic, and the emotional vibration of his images goes together with a critical appropriation of the images: the gesture of analysis often takes the form of a “simple” reframing, always with a perfect awareness of the logic of power of the camera.

Hoolboom is a multimedia artist, even when he makes “just” a film. For the text, the voice, the sound, the rhythm, the photography, the story, emerge each as a world that is explored and sensed in its own force. Like Igor Stravinsky did for each note, the Canadian artist seems to give each shot its own treatment. The result is a style of great intensity, where the narrative is a land mined with abysms, a journey punctuated by vertiginous accelerations of emotions. This is the art of digression, as opposed to the culture of consensus. Hoolboom: “I try to make a picture of what democracy could look like.”

One can label his cinema as essayistic or transcendental, but Hoolboom is not a magician that uses the film to push you beyond the ordinary, or to reveal an unknown place to you. He places himself in the extraordinary, he himself experiences the unknown – and we feel that his films are not meant to convey something to us, but just to express his own ecstatic stance, to express the urgency of a lived life. In the age of information and communication, his films are just entities, which are exposed to be shared, they are the skin of his own experience – be this experience loaded with social criticism or with existential poetry. Therefore, there is a haptic relationship between the camera and the bodies, the faces, his own voice. Here, the violence of beauty and the violence of death conflate.