Bullet & In the Billowing Night
In this screening, In the Billowing Night will be preceded by the short film Bullet.
Bullet (Maya Watanabe, NL/ES/JP/PE 2021) (10 min.)
Video artist Maya Watanabe explores deep ravines, jagged-edged craters, and bony reefs: the ominous “landscape” in the skull of one of the many unidentified victims of the 1980–2000 Peruvian Civil War.
The surface of the skull is smooth as marble, except for the fractures surrounding the small, round bullet hole. The camera penetrates this opening, revealing the rock-like landscape within, of deep ravines, jagged-edged craters, and bony reefs. Here and there we see a web hanging, inhabited by a spider. The gurgling and whooshing of the tapestry of sound intensifies the ominous atmosphere.
Bullet sees Netherlands-based Peruvian video artist Maya Watanabe exploring the skull of an unidentified victim of the Peruvian Civil War, which raged from 1980 to 2000. A truth commission has estimated that 70,000 people died—most of them from indigenous communities—in this conflict between state military organizations, guerilla group Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path), and other factions. The film bears powerful witness to this past and to the neglected state in which the victim’s remains are left.
In the Billowing Night (Erika Etangsalé, FR 2021) (51 min.)
Myth and memory intertwine as the father of director Erika Etangsalé tells his story for the first time. His account is deeply marked by France’s colonial past and the dislocation it caused.
A taciturn man: as a child, this is the image that filmmaker Erika Etangsalé had of her father Jean-René. Now he tells his story for the first time. For the camera. It is a story of displacement stretching back generations, of the colonization and slavery that took his ancestors to the island of Réunion, and of BUMIDOM, the controversial French government program that plucked Jean-René away from the island at the age of 17.
Jean-René pieces together the fragments of his past from his colorful and sunny surroundings in France, but the island he came from is also a presence in the film, starting from its first moments. These grainy black-and-white shots show volcano peaks and mountainsides draped with wisps of mist—scenes that are detached from time, where the boundaries between myth, dream, and memory are blurred.
While the story that is central to the film is personal, it is also the story of so many other people uprooted by colonization. And by telling it, Jean-René gradually takes ownership of this previously unprocessed history that has nestled in his body like some dull ache passed on from generation to generation.
Documentary lovers, keep November 17 to 28 free in your calendar. The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam presents its 34th edition in cinemas throughout Amsterdam, including several special programs in Eye.