MSU, Gorgona Hall / 8th May / 20:00

Cinematographies of Resistance: Maud Alpi

Programme conception: Leila Topić and Dina Pokrajac

The Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb is launching a new programme called Cinematographies of Resistance in cooperation with Subversive Festival. The programme will present film authors from all over the world who share one key feature – their works emerge on the intersection between the strategies and praxes of contemporary art and cinema, combining expressive possibilities of art house cinema, film essay and experimental tendencies. It is precisely this permeability of different disciplines that allows the film authors to open up more and more towards new ways of using images which in return offers the viewers a critical insight into their production, circulation and consumption. In light of recent developments in the art world which have seen film i.e. video emerge as the most represented discipline in contemporary art, opening up new forms of presentation such as installations, multichannel or multimedia projections, our programme Cinematographies of Resistance will focus on various authorial positions that resist mainstream canons and are distinguished precisely for their intermedial and intertextual approach, as well as openness to various themes. We will also explore the origin of these phenomena and examine why it is that works which transform the meanings of the world we live in, expand our senses and transform their symbolic relations towards ourselves, emerge at the crossroads of different disciplines.

For our first edition we will screen a selection from the filmography of French director Maud Alpi (born in 1980). Her first feature film Still Life structures, in a completely unexpected manner, the relationship between humans and animals living in the grindstone of late capitalism shaping our quotidian. By employing a completely unusual narrator, the unnamed and enumerable victims are given a voice that, without resorting to over the top sentimentality, confronts us with the every day genocide taking place at the slaughterhouse, playing to our sense of compassion and questioning the reasons behind man’s domination over other living creatures. The film worlds of Maud Alpi are inhabited by outsiders, teenagers and various gentle losers fighting for the right to form their own values in societies of control. Their actions do not undermine the ideology of the prevailing capitalist society, but they weave small stories that articulate micropolitics of resistance.

The film will be screened on Tuesday, May 8 at 8 pm in the Gorgona Hall of the Museum. After the screening filmologist Ivana Keser and curator Leila Topić will share a conversation with the author.

On Thursday, May 10 at 6 pm we will screen three of Maud Alpi’s short films (Back to Nice, Running and Ground Work) at the Müller Hall in Cinema Europa. These three pieces share a unique authorial approach in which they describe specific social contexts and their filmic representations permeated by elements of musical (Back to Nice), film essay (Running) or rather documentary film (Ground Work).

Ground Work (French title – Lucas sur terre) is a short film that disperses illusion about the idyllic nature of country life. Lucas, is literally on the ground (terre), but his emotions and capability of confronting daily events are far from a rational approach to life. Almost documentary shots of farming are juxtaposed with scenes in which characters are carefully fostering the illusion about maintaining a functional family life.

In the short film Back to Nice (2009) Alpi follows teenager Martial who while looking for his mother, a singer with a shady career, wanders aimlessly throughout Nice and meets people, who like him, whish they could lead more meaningful lives.

Running (2011) follows a girl determined to resist life’s chaos by pursuing the only meaningful act, that of running. By overcoming exhaustion and physical pain i. e. focusing on repetitive running movements, she tries to reach a kind of posthuman state, on the other side of sensitivity towards the world surrounding her.

After the screening there will be a conversation with the author, led by film programmer Dina Pokrajac and curator Leila Topić.

Text: Leila Topić

Translation: Dina Pokrajac

After obtaining a degree in Philosophy at the Ecole normale superieure, Maud Alpi (1980) has directed several acclaimed short films (Ground Work, Back to Nice, Running, Drakkar) that were screened at various prestige festivals, from Cannes to Clermont-Ferrand. Still Life is her first feature film, and last year’s winner of the Wild Dreamer Award for Best Feature Film at the 10th Subversive Film Festival.