Thursday, 24 November 2016

Some Say Chance (1934/2016) screens at Barbican


From 7pm, November 24th at the Barbican Centre, as part of Irish Film Festival London.

"Over the past month or so I have been at Irish Film Institute (IFI) attempting to re-assemble and somewhat recut a partially lost silent film which was originally shot in the early 1930s by Irish novelist and filmmaker Michael Farrell. The film is called Some Say Chance, his only film. Now with surviving 16mm elements in the form of 2 x 400ft cans of edited materials and 7 cans of rushes, which were donated to the Irish Film Archive many years ago, we have attempted to rebuild fragments of the original narrative.

The film tells the story of a young girl who is sent to a boarding school in Wicklow, she believes that her mother is dead, a lie spun by her father who is away working in Australia. Unbeknownst to the girl, her mother is indeed alive and well trawling the London pubs as a heartbroken, penniless prostitute by the name of 'Irish Moll'. Moll's pimp discovers secret letters from her estranged husband and begins to scheme. In the end the mother actually dies, the father returns and kills the pimp, and finally reunites with his daughter, freeing her from the oppressive boarding school. Unfortunately none of this happy ending has survived, and so I took delectation in wallowing in the grim, frightened and naive fragments of the film that remained. Naturally.

'Irish Moll' is played by Rita FitzSimons, who in turn got parts for her daughters, marking Some Say Chance with the first onscreen appearance of Maureen FitzSimons (later O'Hara), who in 1938 went on to star in My Irish Molly. The most fascinating element of Some Say Chance was the filming locations. It was shot on sets built in Farrell's back garden in north Wicklow, while also featuring scenes near Kilmacanogue, Bray, Kilquade, and Greystones my home town and where I shot many films over the years. Nice to see that an extreme spirit of independent filmmaking was alive in Wicklow (around the corner from my house) in the '30s.

The production was very much an amateur event, but fascinating and wonderful nonetheless, and the rolls of 'edited' material (replete with abrupt re-takes) are more akin to 'reference edits' than a completed set of sequences. Through correspondences made by the filmmaker and associates found at the National Library, we can state that the film screened at a Dublin cinema in 1934, but not in its completed state. Some Say Chance went on to screen in small venues throughout the early 1940s, presumably in a completed form until it disappeared.

Though unfortunately not a restoration project (hopefully the missing elements of the film will be discovered one day) the film now stands as a new experience gleaned from surviving elements of the original plot, with scenes expanded and shaped using rushes and additional material. I was given the freedom to create a new cut, concentrating on the surviving narrative elements, which now runs at 39 minutes. A clean 2.3K overscan was performed at Haghefilm Digitaal, Netherlands, with the edit and online taking place at IFI.

The film will screen this evening at the Barbican alongside work by Mitchell & Kenyon, R.W Paul and others, all to a live score" 

- Dean Kavanagh


Full programme information




Monday, 14 November 2016

EFS Presents “True Wholes” @ Filmbase

The Nautilus Shutter Experiments: Part 2; True Wholes
An audio visual performance by Anja Mahler in collaboration with Dean Kavanagh
Date Saturday 3rd December @ 3:00pm Tickets €7 Duration 70mins
Venue Filmbase, Curved Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2


True Wholes situates itself directly in the path of light; part lens, lantern, and laboratory, it aims to function as a dialogue between the mechanism of cinema, light and its source. Simultaneously camera and theatre, the various apparatus are constructed into a dialogue charting lunar, solar and planetary explorations from the galactic to the topographic, all visions in a luminous flux.
The audio visual performance is focused around the use of two mechanical devices; an apparatus custom designed to trace the motion of light (as perceived from Earth); an opto-mechanical device used in the projection of motion pictures. The performance is a process of composing and decomposing images through the diffraction and refraction of light in a process that journeys from the microscopic to the telescopic. For the performance Dean Kavanagh creates a live soundscape, interrogating the apparatus and suspending the actions in a sonic space.
Structured as ten scenes in five acts, True Wholes is a science of light, sound and machine that explores potential drama in properties of light. The viewers are invited into a selectively lit space, akin to an operating theatre, where the performers (stage engineer and assistants) develop and execute each scene in chronology.
The title of the work is inspired by a quote from Arthur Zajonc[1] and by extension the writings of Fritjof Capra[2]. Both physicists address a historical understanding of light, by entwining science, society and the rise of culture. Newton’s corpuscular view of light also termed ‘Newtonian world-machine’ is a particular concern. The modern scientist’s views are criticised for excluding experience (colour, sound, taste and smell) from the realm of scientific discourse and favouring the methodology of reductionism in experimental research. While Capra argues that science needs to develop the concepts and insights of holism and systems theory by the latter half of the 21st century, Zajonc elaborates on how Romanticists and American transcendentalists of the 19th century, most famously Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, would revolt against modern scientific thought.
It would be a century before poets would turn on Newton and the despotism of his botanizing eye, they would then lament the dismembering of the world into parts, so that true wholes were never more seen again.’
True Wholes is the second part of The Nautilus Shutter Experiments, Anja Mahler’s on-going series of experimental engagements with an opto-mechanical device. The sole aim is to explore the perception of light through an apparatus that operates cinema.
Anja Mahler‘s practice is situated in the field of moving image, installation and performance. She is seeking to create a dramaturgy of light through the manipulation of time and the expressive use of moving image technology and the human body. From research to presentation, her work is a concise and calculated engagement with the science of light. anjamahler.net
Dean Kavanagh is an experimental filmmaker from Wicklow, Ireland. He became a member of the international filmmaking collective Experimental Film Society in 2008. Since then he has completed over 60 films of short and feature length, which have been screened worldwide. His work is intensely visual, creating detailed atmospheres that respond to the interaction between space, time and the human body. Rural and domestic themes diaphanously sheath a rigorously formalistic interplay between sound and image. deankavanagh.com
  • This is a seated performance.
  • Tickets are on sale at the door.
  • Warning: some mild flicker.
[1] Catching the Light: The Entwined History of Light and Mind,  Arthur Zajonc, 1995
[2] The Turning Point: Science, Society, and the Rising Culture, Fritjof Capra, 1982



Monday, 7 November 2016

Rouzbeh Rashidi's TRAILERS @ 61st Cork Film Festival




The latest film by Rouzbeh Rashidi, Trailers, will be premiered on Sunday November 13th 2016, 20:15
at Triskel Christchurch Cinema  in Cork Film Festival. Book your ticket HERE