The films of Brazilian artist and filmmaker Ana Vaz propose a critical reflection on the relationship between colonialism, modernity and the impending ecological disaster. Hers is haptic cinema that destabilises and questions the hierarchical gaze of ethnographic cinema, highlighting the instability of perspective as well as the presences before and behind the camera. This survey of recent works focuses on ideas of memory, the archive and critical pedagogy.
13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird
13 Maneiras de Olhar para um Pássaro Negro
Ana Vaz | 2021 | Portugal | 31’ | digital
13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird takes its title from the homonymous poem by Wallace Stevens, which also gives the film its structure. It was developed in collaboration with high school students Vera Amaral and Mário Neto over the course of a year, in the context of a workshop that deconstructed the process of making a film. We hear the students reading and interpreting the text, debating the project with the filmmaker, interrogating what cinema can be. “The film is a song you can see,” they write, opening up a reflection on the gaze; a central concern in the work of Ana Vaz.
Ana Vaz | 2020 | Brazil | 9’ | digital
“Pseudosphynx is the scientific name of the fire-caterpillars soon to become butterflies, or as they’re commonly (and auspiciously) called: witches. These butterfly-witches are associated with several myths, one of which narrates that, during the Inquisition in the Middle Ages, it was believed that ‘witches turned into butterflies, a sort of transformism of living beings – real or imagined.’ Pseudosphynx, thus, is at the same time sphinx, meaning inhuman chthonic monstrosity that spells charades; and pseudo, as in artificial, insincere, deceptive, unreal, illusive, mimetic. Pseudosphynx keeps its meaning veiled, like a secret kept by those who save in their retinas the haptic impression of their fight.” (Ana Vaz)
Ana Vaz | 2019 | Brazil | 28’ | digital
A highly sensorial and audiovisually inventive film that rethinks its own form to find ways to enliven a precarious and largely unwritten history. Apiyemiyekî? takes as its starting point the archive of Brazilian educator and Indigenous rights militant Egydio Schwade, which contains over 3000 drawings made by the Waimiri-Atroari, a people native to the Brazilian Amazon, during their first literacy process. The drawings are animated onto a landscape haunted by a violence, shedding light on the genocidal crimes committed against the indigenous communities during Brazil’s military dictatorship.
With an introduction by Olivier Marboeuf, co-producer of Apiyemiyekî? and Ana Vaz’s frequent collaborator
Olivier Marboeuf is an author, performer, curator and film producer. He is the founder of the Espace Khiasma center (www.khiasma.net), which he directed from 2014 to 2018 in the Lilas, in the suburbs of Paris. In Khiasma, he developed a program focusing on minority representations and post-colonial situations through screenings, debates, performances and collaborative projects in the north-east of Paris. His lyrics intersect with poetic fiction and speculative theories. They are interested in the place as a form of presence and the body as a landscape. Drawing on the imagination and literature of the Caribbean as much as in the mythologies of the suburbs, Marboeuf explores ways of making sensitive the history that is imprinted in the minority bodies and the narrative of the wandering communities. His recent texts are published on the blog: https://olivier-marboeuf.com/