Jacques Perconte
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  5 mai 2020  
Robé, Chris, PopMatters.
Disruptive Films and Political Turmoil
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→ L’article en ligne : /www.popmatters.com/disrup...

"All images that separate us alienate us," warns the unnamed narrator from Night Is Coming: Threnody for the Victims of Marikana (Aryan Kaganof, 2014), one of the many stellar short films found on the second volume of the Disruptive Film series, curated by Ernest Larsen and Sherry Millner.


One of the most notable aspects of the collection is that it refreshingly views political documentary and experimental films as located on the same continuum. Larsen and Millner write in the collection's introductory booklet that all of the films they curated for the collection "look for and discover new, under-explored or forgotten ways to prepare for an uncertain future in both theory and practice."

Some of the films fall heavily on the experimental side of things like Jacques Perconte's Satyagraha (2009) that explores the mixed inheritances of Gandhi's belief in non-violent civil disobedience. Pixilated and distorted images of crowds morph across the screen. Sickly green and red hues trail across crowd movements like an acid trip. Random voices forcefully assert beliefs counter to Gandhi's; "Today Gandhi would carry a weapon" and "We can no longer believe in the truth." A low hum stitches together the soundbites. As the imagery becomes more violent, such as historic footage of British colonialists whipping Indian crowds, the distortion rises across the soundtrack, a malevolent fever dream of a colonial past resurrecting itself in the present.


Disruptive Film, Volume 2 presents an invaluable swath of films from a wide geographical and historic terrain that documents the multiple approaches a variety of filmmakers take in wielding video and celluloid for social change. No one singular style suffices. Instead, the collection provides testimony of the need for multiple aesthetic approaches determined in part by the film's subject, the filmmaker's proclivities, and the needs of the historical moment.

Not all are successful. Nevertheless, one can appreciate the effort of a collection ambitiously attempting to chart the terrain of radical film and video over the last 40 years. The only issue I have with the new collection is that Facets has invested less into its production quality than the first volume. There's no longer an accompanying glossy pamphlet with the set. Instead, one must download it from the Facets site. Furthermore, there are some sloppy inaccuracies in the program notes like ascribing Tehran is the Capital of Iran to Yugoslavia and giving it the wrong production date. Such problems don't indelibly mar the collection, but they do suggest that Facets is not giving the care it should to such an important and rare set of films. One can only hope that volume three will be appearing soon and in a pristine manner.


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