Open City Documentary Festival

across London
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The Invisible Mountain

Ben Russell | 2021 | USA | 83’ | digital

The Invisible Mountain is a hallucinatory travelogue based on Mount Analogue, René Daumal’s avant-garde novel which describes an expedition to the summit of a mountain, floating in an ocean, which cannot be seen, only deduced. Russell follows an unnamed traveller who journeys from Finland to Greece in search of a similarly unreachable mountain. His elliptical quest leads him to an Estonian lakeside, a secluded beach, and to numerous encounters with a touring group of musicians whose immersive performances include the extended psych-tinged interpretation of “Come as You Are” that opens the film. Equal parts non-fiction cinema, concert film, road movie and spirit quest, The Invisible Mountain is a heady inquiry into the transcendent possibilities of cinema.

Followed by a conversation between Ben Russell and Ben Rivers

Ben Russell  is an American artist, filmmaker and curator whose work lies at the intersection of ethnography and psychedelia. His films and installations are in direct conversation with the history of the documentary image, providing a time-based inquiry into trance phenomena. Russell was an exhibiting artist at documenta 14 (2017) and his work has been presented at the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Museum of Modern Art, the Tate Modern, the Museum of Modern Art Chicago, the Venice Film Festival and the Berlinale, among others.  He is a recipient of a 2008 Guggenheim Fellowship, a FIPRESCI International Critics Prize (IFFR 2010, Gijón 2017), and premiered his second and third feature films at the Locarno Film Festival (2013, 2017).  Curatorial projects include Magic Lantern (Providence, USA,2005-2007), BEN RUSSELL (Chicago, USA, 2009-2011), and Hallucinations  (Athens, Greece, 2017).  He is currently based in Marseille, France.

Ben Rivers has made around 40 films. He co-ran/programmed Brighton Cinematheque 1996-2006. Awards include the EYE Art Film Prize, 2016; FIPRESCI International Critics Prize, 68th Venice Film Festival for his first feature film Two Years At Sea; Baloise Art Prize, Art Basel 42; Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Artists; and twice winner of the Tiger Award at Rotterdam Film Festival. He was commissioned by Artangel to make Two Eyes Are Not Brothers, shown at the former BBC Television Centre and The Whitworth Museum, Manchester. He recently collaborated on the feature film Krabi, 2562, with Anocha Suwichakornpong.