Arvo Leo: film programme

23 May, 8 pm (doors open 7.30 pm)
Sergei Parajanov, The Colour of Pomegranates
Full feature film, 79 min., 1969
Free admittance
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30 May, 8 pm (doors open 7.30 pm)
Arvo Leo,  Fish Plane, Heart Clock
Full feature film, HD video, 60 min., 2014
Free admittance
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As part of his residency at Hotel Maria Kapel artist and filmmaker Arvo Leo will screen two films in the HMK cinema, on May 23 and May 30.

The first film, The Colour of Pomegranates (1969) by director Sergei Parajanov depicts the life of the Armenian troubadour poet Sayat-Nova. The Colour of Pomegranates is a highly visual, poetic and enigmatic film that moves far away from the typical biopic. Parajanov uses the poetic techniques of Armenian poetry as a way to structure the film itself, thus creating an entangling and mirroring between subject and form. This particular method of the film mimicking some of the subject’s own artistic techniques was a foundational inspiration for Arvo Leo’s film Fish Plane, Heart Clock (2014).

Fish Plane, Heart Clock is a film that celebrates and responds to the work of the Inuit hunter-turned-artist Pudlo Pudlat (1916–1992). For many years Pudlo Pudlat lived a traditional semi-nomadic life on Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic. Eventually, in his forties, after a hunting injury, he moved to the settlement of Kinngait (Cape Dorset) where he began making drawings with materials provided by the newly established Kinngait Studios, the first Inuit printmaking program. Over the next thirty years Pudlo would produce over 4000 drawings and paintings with graphite, felt markers, coloured pencils, and acrylics; many of which have never been exhibited.

Twenty-two years after Pudlo’s death, Arvo Leo travelled to Kinngait to spend the spring living where Pudlo made his work. In Fish Plane, Heart Clock, many images of Pudlo’s drawings are shown alongside filmic tableaux vivants and documentary moments filmed by Arvo Leo while he lived in Kinngait. Arvo portrays the daily life of a community in seasonal transition while also subtly evoking the surreal and enigmatic energy that is intrinsic to Pudlo’s art. Fish Plane, Heart Clock is foremost a lyrical celebration of Pudlo’s work but it is also a realistic and magical realistic document of contemporary life in Kinngait. What is shown to us is not entirely real, nor is it entirely fictional. It is not an artist documentary, nor is it an ethnographic film, nor is it a structuralist film; it exists somewhere in between these genres, subverting and collaging some of their respective tropes and methods in the process. Fish Plane, Heart Clock is a corpse whose body parts were discovered from research, fieldwork and improvisation and sewn together with montage.

Image: Arvo Leo, Fish Plane, Heart Clock (still), HD video, 60 min., 2014