Similarity Index. Film Programme



Similarity Index.
Film Programme

Lavra (Ironland), 2021

Lucas Bambozzi
97 minutes
Courtesy of the artist

The documentary film by the Brazilian artist and director Lucas Bambozzi tells its story through a fictional character—a geographer called Camila—who returns to her home state of Minas Gerais in Brazil after living for many years in the United States. Camila finds her homeland in the grips of an environmental disaster, described by the author as an environmental crime. In November 2015, a dam burst at the Bento Rodrigues mine destroyed part of the town of Mariana and washed away entire villages. Seventeen people died and mercury, arsenic, and chromium were released into the Rio Dosi River, doing incalculable damage to animal, marine, and plant life along a 500 kilometre stretch to the Atlantic coast. Another dam burst at Brumadinho in 2019 proved even more deadly, claiming the lives of 300 people. Camila’s return becomes a journey in the wake of the mudflow, through devastated landscapes and abandoned villages. Her outlook on the world is changed by first-hand experience of pain and loss, and she decides to make resistance to crimes committed against the land and people into her life’s work.

Krabi 2562, 2019

Ben Rivers
Anocha Suwichakornpong
93 minutes
Courtesy of the artists

In this reflection on the ethnographic cinema genre, a British artist and a Thai filmmaker assemble a mythopoetic image of Thailand’s southern province of Krabi. The film’s playfully elusive optics juxtapose the supernatural and the everyday, the mythical and the real, past and present, documentary and fiction. The landscapes of Krabi, which gently unfold before the viewer along with tales from local folklore, open rifts in time. One such rift swallows up the main character, who disappears without a trace. Another brings a Neanderthal back to life after tens of thousands of years of extinction.

The authors are interested in how cinema can create an image of a particular territory through a combination of objects, beliefs, landscapes, and epochs. The film combines close attention to local culture with the absurdity of modernity and an ironic critique of conveyor-belt tourism. The static and the dynamic, nature and civilisation, life and death cross over and are entangled, leaving no space for standard binary thinking. The camera deliberately lingers on paradoxical phenomena: motionless life-size figures of plastic animals and primitive people who seem to have emerged from a diorama; an abandoned cinema animated by flocks of birds; and trite posters depicting the richness of the region’s flora and fauna. Sliding constantly through time, space and plot, the film offers the viewer an alternative take on the world, where uncertainty and plasticity reign in place of the dictates of established categories.

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