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by Verena Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor
Norte Productions: Valentina Novati
Sensory Ethnography Lab: Verena Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor
The lockdown in March broke off years of hard work by Verena Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor, filmmakers, anthropologists and creators of Leviathan revealed at Locarno in 2012. Their new movie focuses on five hospitals in northern Paris neighborhoods, using the latest medical imaging technology to paint a triple portrait of the human body, the medical profession and the French capital.
– Antoine Thirion, Selection Committee
The cinematic shaman Kidlat Tahimik’s film, Mababangong Bangungot, has lost none of its unerring and unnerving magic over the years. Inventing at a stroke a wholly new genre of postcolonial picaresque, the film’s provocations, both in style and in substance, are as breathtaking in 2020 as they were in 1977. Its whimsical, quixotic self-fashioning of “Kidlat,” and his peregrinations around the Philippines and Europe, as he dissects and dismantles the obscenity and inanity of North American imperialism, European crypto-colonial modernity, and neo-liberal consumerist capitalism tout court, have, if anything, only increased in their prescience and pertinence since then. The film couples comedy and critique, absurdist humor and self-deprecating irony, like no other we know. An inimitable fabulist, and mythopoetic gadabout, Kidlat wryly thumbs his nose at the racist tropes of ethnographic film, travel documentaries, and Western primitivism in a fashion that no one before had dared and no one since has essayed. Almost half a century later, the world is now on fire. Marcos’ US-sponsored dictatorship already contained the seeds of Duherte’s, and as Duherte, Bolsonaro, Modi, Erdogan, Trump and their ilk strut their shit on the world’s sickening stage, screening Mababangong Bangungot today brings home with unremitting force many of the causes of our current global crisis. Kidlat’s ludic proclamation of imaginative freedom and cosmopolitanism, “I chose my vehicle and I can cross all bridges,” clamors to be heard as never before, even as it sounds ever more like utopian wish-fulfillment fantasy.
– Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor