BFF 2017 Curator’s Notes – “City Lights” Film Series
Cities, films and dreams have much in common. They are homogeneous, often with many layered meanings and narratives simultaneously occurring. They have a structure, but much of how they are generated is intuitive and messy (especially behind the scenes). They can also reveal the best and worst of human nature, depending on the angle.
Italo Calvino’s visionary Le citta Invisibili is a prime example of a book that shows how a singular place (Venice) can be viewed myriad ways. Part of this film festival is the Burien-centric film contest, which challenges filmmakers to use the frame of this peculiar place to tell a story. It may not have the history of Venice, and it may lie in the shadow of Seattle (itself a mid-sized city with an identity crisis), but there are countless stories being told here everyday, and the films in the City Lights film series ponder the unique relationship between film, city and dream.
In spite of their bonds, there is an irony here. That is, through globalization, many large cities are seeing increased homogeneity, less porousness at their core, and film plays a part in flattening our view of cities to their skylines. For instance, many films are set in one city but filmed in others, and even if they are authentic in their methods, the ease of travel (and frantic pace of many thrillers) reduces the settings to a blur. Rarely do we get a quiet meditation on a single place and the chance ways that lives intersect within them.
These films find the sublime in the slum. They find the chance romance and misanthropy that can develop in close quarters. The dreams that spill over into reality, or spoil and turn into violent desperation. These are just a window into countless stories existing in parallel in cities around the world.
Films in this series
- The First Letter
- Un Soir De Mars (One Night in March)
- One-Way Ticket
- Ciudadanos (Citizens)
- The Way of Patachin
- Entretien avec Robert (Interview with Robert)
- Bizarro Video. Shop 63
- SACRÉ COEUR
- Medianoche (Midnight)