Images Festival: Day 3 Report w/ ifpod

A scene from "Songs of Praise for the Heart Beyond Cure"

I admit I had a slight pang of discomfort going into the International Shorts IV screening entitled "The Light That Shines Through the Fog of Desperation". In reading the program's description, phrases like "elaborate performances", "the lens turned on the self" and "metaphorically illuminate our loss, grief, and struggle in living", I started to worry that my brain might implode under the weight of humourless narcissism and dishonest banality. We've all been there, right? But this is Images after all, and there will always be some degree of discomfort -- in fact isn't this part of the festival's appeal?

The program, as my intuition hinted, was mostly cringe-inducing. (Yes, I know -- that's the appeal!) You see, I had the displeasure of watching a woman smacking her own face blue and purple, then another (link NSFW) getting aroused by being stepped on (or "footed" for the fetishists), and another teasing us with bits of her body shot in night vision, which I swear I might have seen before on some porn site somewhere (um, by accident). I don't mean to sound cynical, and I'm all for artistically-inclined, nubile women exploring themselves, but are we really progressing the medium here? Have we run out of ways to explore the body, and in turn resorted to trite exhibitionism?

Thankfully, there was one breath of fresh air amongst the bombardment of sadomasochism. Songs of Praise for the Heart Beyond Cure by Cooper Battersby & Emily Vey Duke is an anarchistic mash-up of darkly funny and irreverent clips, incorporating digital animation, original Karaoke sing-alongs, moving panoramas, and time-lapse videos. Whatever incoherencies are inherent in the piece, the internal logic and tone remain astonishingly consistent -- an achievement of smart craftsmanship and ingenious writing.


Here is the most recent ifpod video:

Through the Holes
Elizabeth Vander Zaag
Canada 1982 Video 4 min

(Photo: Images Festival)

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