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OF THE NIGHT: Films by Malena Szlam

+ films by Chick Strand & Julie Murray

Malena Szlam’s Super 8 &16mm films traverse the realms of dream and memory, capturing ethereal imagery of light reflection and refraction pulsating through the camera. The richly saturated colours convey otherworldly visions, transmuting the landscape to a point of near abstraction.

This programme was chosen by the filmmaker and includes selections of additional work by two influential filmmakers that inspire and inform her own practice, presented here in dialogue alongside her own artistry.

Frames, LOMAA’s ongoing analogue film series, is pleased to welcome Malena Szlam in person to introduce and present her films.

doors at 7pm
7:15pm to 9pm
London Fringe, 207 King St.
$5 admission (no one turned away)
note: washrooms are not wheelchair accessible

PROGRAMME:

Chronogram of Inexistent Time (Cronograma de un tiempo inexistente)
Chile, Canada | 35mm to digital | colour | silent | 6:00 min. | 2008

Chronogram is a photomontage that explores stillness, motion, and memory. Using a 35mm still camera, multiple exposures were composed and edited in-camera, creating frameless sequences of images printed on 35mm filmstrips. When projected, these images become a non-linear, non-synchronized collage. The ephemeral quality of the images—their transparency, layering, and repetition—invites us to reflect on the role memory plays in perception, the ways we mentally reconfigure fragments to construct stability and meaning in an environment of perpetual flux.

Anagrams of Light (Anagramas de luz)
Canada | Super 8mm | colour | silent | 3:00 min. | 2011

Light breaks the darkness in playful rapture—a film dedicated to my dear friend Javiera.

Rhythm Trail
Chile, Canada | Super 8mm | colour | silent | 10:00 min. | 2010 – 2011

Like notes written in a diary, Rhythm Trail is an open-ended film composed of a series of Super 8mm sketches edited in-camera. These collected notes are traces of moments and places that reflect on the immediacy of sight.

Beneath Your Skin of Deep Hollow (Bajo tu lámina de agujero profundo)
Canada | Super 8mm to 16mm | colour | silent | 3:40 min. | 2010

Beneath Your Skin of Deep Hollow translates night and water into arrhythmic movements of light in a fugue of colours. Shifting impressions emerge on the surface of an agitated stillness, while darkness illuminates reflections and sight.

Ô miroir !
Eau froide par l’ennui dans ton cadre gelée,
Que de fois el pendant des heures, désolée
Des songes et cherchant mes souvenirs qui sont
Comme des feuilles sous ta glace au trou profond,
Je m’apparus en toi comme une ombre lointaine,
Mais, horreur ! Des soirs, dans ta sévère fontaine,
J’ai de mon rêve épars connu la nudité!
– Stéphane Mallarmé, Hérodiade.

O mirror!
Cold water by weariness frozen in your frame,
How many times and during many hours, desolate
By dreams and seeking my memories which are
Like leaves beneath the deep hollow of your ice,
I saw myself in you like a distant shadow,
But, horror! Some evenings, in your harsh pool,​
From my scattered dreams I have known nakedness!
– Stéphane Mallarmé, Hérodiade.

Lunar Almanac
Canada | 16mm | colour | silent | 4:00 min. | 2013

“Lunar Almanac initiates a journey through magnetic spheres with its staccato layering of single-frame, long exposures of a multiplied moon. Shot in 16mm Ektachrome and hand processed, the film’s artisanal touches are imbued with nocturnal mystery.”
—Andréa Picard, TIFF Wavelengths, 2014

“Harnessing chance as much as film’s innate technical abilities, Lunar Almanac is an exquisite miniature of wonderment.”
—Ana Hušman, Johann Lurf and Andréa Picard, 25 FPS Festival, 2014

Lunar Almanac traces the observational points of the lunar cycle in a series of visual notations. Using single-frame and long-exposure photography, the unaltered, in-camera editing accumulates over 4000 layered field views of half-moons, new moons, and full moons. These lunar inscriptions flit across the screen with a frenetic energy, illuminating nocturnal reveries that pull at the tides as much as our dreams.

Morfología de un sueño (Morphology of a Dream)
USA, Canada | 16mm | colour | silent | 5:30 min. | 2018

Morphology of a Dream is a visual study of the rhythms of sleep cycles during the phase of rapid eye movement. Filmed in the forest in Colorado, Morphology explores an oneiric world that expresses place and memory in a fleeting succession of colors and sensations hovering between the “real” and abstract worlds.

ALTIPLANO
Chile, Argentina, Canada | 35mm on digital| colour | sound | 15:30 min. | 2018

Filmed in the Andean Mountains in the traditional lands of the Atacameño, Aymará and Calchaquí-Diaguita in Northern Chile and Northwest Argentina, ALTIPLANO takes places within a geological universe of ancestral salt flats, volcanic deserts, and coloured lakes. Fusing earth with sky, day with night, heartbeat with mountain, and mineral with iridescent cloud, ALTIPLANO reveals a vibrating Ektachromelandscape in which a bright blue sun forever threatens to eclipse a blood-red moon.

Coupled with an entirely natural soundscape generated from infrasound recordings of volcanoes, geysers, Chilean blue whales and more, ALTIPLANO makes use of in-camera editing to create evocative visual rhythms through the ecstatic clash of color and form. Landscapes pulse and stutter, transformed through complex 16mm pixelation and superimposition techniques into spaces that exist in a multitude of times simultaneously. Located at the heart of a natural ecosystem threatened by a century of saltpeter and nitrate mining practices and recent geothermic exploitation, ALTIPLANO reveals an ancient land standing witness to all that is, was and will be.

Orchard by Julie Murray
Ireland, USA | 16mm | colour | sound | 9:30 min. | 2004

Much of the footage that comprises Orchard is of a 19th century ruin that included a walled orchard in and area known as Rostellen in southwest Ireland. It is set deep in the woods and the crumbling brick and mortar of the broken walls has become the anchor for the roots of slender trees, so uninhibited for all this time that they reach twenty feet in height and have thick roots that follow like slow lazy trickles of water and in other places branch and wind over the brickwork in an apparently intelligent arterial arrangement reminiscent of the human body. (Julie Murray)

By the Lake by Chick Strand
USA | 16mm | colour | sound | 9:30 min. | 1986

A collage film made from Third World images and found sound from a 1940s radio show (“I Love a Mystery”), live recordings of an operation on a horse, and a 1970s church service, all taken out of context and reconstructed into new relationships and meanings. An Anglo woman’s interpretation of magic realism.

total duration: approx. 67 minutes + reel changes & Q&A

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Born and raised in Chile, Malena Szlam is an artist-filmmaker based in Montréal. Working at the intersection of cinema, installation, and performance, her practice explores the relationship between the natural world, perception, and intuitive process. The poetics developed through her time-based works and in-camera edited films engage the material and affective dimensions of analogue film practice. She is a member of Double Negative, an artist collective dedicated to the production and exhibition of experimental cinema.

Szlam’s work has been exhibited in numerous festivals and museums, including the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the Edinburgh International Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, the Hong Kong Film Festival, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and the Buenos Aires Museum of Modern Art. A recent retrospective of her work was presented at Los Angeles Filmforum and ATA – Artists’ Television Access in San Francisco. Szlam is recipient of the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto’s (LIFT) Roberto Ariganello Artist Residency Award (2018).

“Malena Szlam’s films are meticulously assembled using a menagerie of techniques to physically alter the film elements resulting in dreamlike, collaged, flickering images leaving viewers with a sense of wonderment, displacement and an expanded sense of time. Szlam’s careful construction of her works serves to ground and guide viewers on a serene journey through these brief and powerful cinematic experiences.” – Becca Keating, Los Angeles Filmforum

https://vimeo.com/malenaszlam

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LOMAA wishes to acknowledge the financial support of the London Arts Council’s Community Arts Investment Program (CAIP) in funding this film series, as well as the Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts for their continued backing.