IDFA - Minispectacles Albuquerque Straight & Craigslist Allstars
Minispectacles Albuquerque Straight
Maarit Suomi-Väänänen (FI, 2016) 7'
Six cinematographic haikus about a man with a lynx in his motel room. Less a story than a sequence of hints, it is nonetheless complete.
Why make a long film when a short one will do? Maarit Suomi-Väänänen is the uncrowned queen of the miniature film. She calls her minute-long movies “Minispectacles” or “cinematic haikus.” She points her camera at everyday situations in which the thin veneer of convention can’t disguise the madness and chaos that lies beneath. There is too little time or motivation to let the story develop, though one suspects there’s an absent chapter before and after it. The nonchalant, handheld technique reinforces the films’ rough-and-ready visual style.
At first there doesn’t appear to be too much going on with the man in a motel room on Route 66 – except that his roommate is a young lynx. His sentences are repetitions of repetitions; his story is an elliptic, gradual, incremental monologue. Although not much seems to be happening in the one-minute fragments, you’ll view the man in a totally different light once you’ve seen them.
Samira Elagoz (FI/NL, 2016) 65'
A female perspective on how men look at women in an intimate and sometimes shocking chronicle of first dates made on Craigslist.
Craigslist is a digital grab bag. Anyone is allowed to post anything there: from house sales ads to open job applications with résumé included. And of course there are all sorts of variations on the “man seeks woman” theme – Craigslist is high in the rankings of alternative dating sites. Samira Elagoz used Craigslist to meet a veritable cavalcade of men, including a magician, an exhibitionist, sadist video artist and a soft-core porn director. She films her first encounters in a candid and transparent cinema verité style that has been updated for the YouTube generation.
This performance artist describes herself as a behavioral researcher, but she is by no means an objective and dispassionate observer. In reality, she is enticing and risk-taking. Sometimes a relationship develops, but the more frequent outcome is a slightly fearful situation with violence simmering under the surface. It makes little difference in which part of the world her subjects are living – they are all lonely in some way, shape or form. Elagoz puts herself in a position to be the object of the male gaze, however she captures this gaze, and returns it.