LOCAL/LOCALE season at EFG: Tired Moonlight

The final screening in the mini season LOCAL/LOCALE at Edinburgh Film Guild is the UK premiere of Britni West’s Slamdance award-winning Tired Moonlight. Set and shot in West’s hometown of Kalispell, Montana, Tired Moonlight uses mainly non-professional actors and a ‘documentary’ approach to capture the atmosphere of this simultaneously ordinary and special place. The director went back to Kalispell over the summers of 2012 and 2013, working from an 80 page script but with the flexibility to allow the performer’s own personalities and experiences to influence the film’s direction.

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Liz Randall as Dawn and Rainleigh Vick as Rainy

The film’s main characters are the poet Paul Dickinson, who plays himself and whose writing features in the film, and Dawn, played by Liz Randall, a woman who lives alone. Dawn’s ‘small’ story is essentially about the new connections she makes, first with a four year old girl and then with Paul, and Tired Moonlight relishes the awkwardness and vulnerability of opening up to others, within the a setting where it might be assumed that everyone knows each other. tired moonlight2Beyond this central conceit, West’s method while shooting was to allow the town to guide her in terms of what was important to portray, just as can be seen in the work of Miguel Gomes, in last week’s EFG screening Our Beloved Month of August and Arabian Nights. Says West; ‘We would see what was happening, who was around, try and figure out if there was something more interesting that we should be focusing on. It was loose, but also held together by this thread of my experiences, care for the environment in which I grew up, and love of the people I was working with and meeting along the way.’* tired moonlight5Shooting on Super 16mm, cinematographer Adam Ginsberg (Stinking Heaven, Nathan Silver, 2015) captures the beauty in the landscape and the small moments between people, making Tired Moonlight’s sense of place so evocative. The result of this looseness and beauty in shooting, the affection for the location, and a narrative lead by ‘real’ people is a film that succeeds so well in describing the experience of living in Montana, without treating those who do as curiosities.

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Paul Dickinson

Tired Moonlight screens at 7pm on Sunday 6 December. If you’d like more information about the whole mini season check out the EFG page here, or the other programme notes here on Cinematic Investigations, listed below.

Sunday 8 November: MAN OF THE STORY (KATHAPURUSHAN). Adoor Gopalakrishnan/India, Japan/1995/102/Malayalam with English subtitles.

Sunday 15 November: WHITE COAL. Georg Tiller/Austria, Poland, Taiwan/2015/70 min/English and Chinese with English subtitles.

Sunday 22 November: ALLUVION/EVERGREEN. Alluvion/Sasha Litvintseva/UK/2013/31min. Evergreen/Sasha Litvintseva/UK/2014/50 min.

Sunday 29 November: OUR BELOVED MONTH OF AUGUST (AQUELE QUERIDO MES DE AGOSTO) Miguel Gomes/Portugal, France/2008/147 min/Portuguese with English subtitles.

Sunday 6 December: TIRED MOONLIGHT. Britni West/USA/2015/76 min.

*Britni West, Press Notes for Tired Moonlight

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LOCAL/LOCALE season at EFG: Our Beloved Month of August

This coming Sunday at 7pm the LOCAL/LOCALE season at Edinburgh Film Guild continues with a film by celebrated Portuguese writer/director Miguel Gomes. The director’s second feature film following The Face You Deserve (2004) is a sun-drenched portrait of a rural town in the region of Arganil, whose title, Our Beloved Month of August (Aquele Querido Mês de Agosto, 2008) proclaims the affection with which Gomes treats his subject. The film is at once a narrative about a family dance band and a blossoming romance and a meditation on the nature of filmmaking itself. Gomes dissolves the supposed distance between documentarian and subject, writer and actors, blending all such elements together into one glorious idiosyncratic work of cinema. AQMA_039Like Gomes later film, the multi award-winning Tabu (2012), the concept of playing lightly with notions of narrative and performance is familiar in Our Beloved Month of August, though the influence of the locals themselves is more apparent. Much like Gomes most recent trilogy of films, Arabian Nights: Volume 1 – The Restless One, Volume 2 – The Desolate One and Volume 3 – The Enchanted One non-professional actors play themselves – and other roles – whilst Gomes ‘the director’ appears as himself, struggling to reconcile budget, script and schedule on the shoot. Gomes’ ever present anxiety of creative vision hindered by financial limitations only seem to imbue him with a sense of inventive inclusion, as though what must be cut from a production gives rise to the feeling that everything and anything can and should be the film. AQMA_027Kieran Corless on Our Beloved Month of August: ‘It inhabits its chosen world and landscape so fully and imaginatively, so intimately, it’s almost as if it’s inhaling it. Slowly, stealthily, the fantastical flowers in this everyday scenario, credibly and breathtakingly. We experience that rarity in cinema, a sort of flowing, fluid buoyancy, when everything in a film is singing, all the elements are fusing in harmony.’

This will be the penultimate screening in the LOCAL/LOCALE season, with the UK premiere of Britni West’s award-winning Tired Moonlight following it on Sunday 6 December, a film which combines the docu-fictional elements of Gomes with the loose, intimacy of the low budget American indie.

Here’s the full run down of the season below. You can join the Facebook event here, and get more info on the Edinburgh Film Guild here.

Sunday 8 November: MAN OF THE STORY (KATHAPURUSHAN). Adoor Gopalakrishnan/India, Japan/1995/102/Malayalam with English subtitles.

Sunday 15 November: WHITE COAL. Georg Tiller/Austria, Poland, Taiwan/2015/70 min/English and Chinese with English subtitles.

Sunday 22 November: ALLUVION/EVERGREEN. Alluvion/Sasha Litvintseva/UK/2013/31min. Evergreen/Sasha Litvintseva/UK/2014/50 min.

Sunday 29 November: OUR BELOVED MONTH OF AUGUST (AQUELE QUERIDO MES DE AGOSTO) Miguel Gomes/Portugal, France/2008/147 min/Portuguese with English subtitles.

Sunday 6 December: TIRED MOONLIGHT. Britni West/USA/2015/76 min.

LOCAL/LOCALE season at EFG: Alluvion and Evergreen

Following last week’s White Coal directed by Georg Tiller, the LOCAL/LOCALE season continues on Sunday 22 November at 7pm with two films by Russian born, London based artist Sasha Litvintseva, Alluvion (2013) and Evergreen (2014). Litvintseva’s films explore the industry, tourism and history of specific places, commenting on the way culture, leisure and work are documented and valued.

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Alluvion

In Alluvion a family holiday at a Turkish coastal resort, taking in skating and gliding activities in between predominantly passive leisure time. Around them the work of shipbuilding and night time entertainment represent a contrast of labour, but it’s their essentialness to Turkey’s culture and economy that Alluvion appears to question.

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Evergreen

Evergreen meanwhile explores the constructed spaces, abandoned buildings and natural environments of Japan, where an immortal traveller attempts to understand each through their status as spectacle. We see tourists gather around a geiser, the endless unpacking of containers at a port and the image-making of costume players. All well documented by the ever present camera. Litvintseva asks what happens to a civilisation seeking perfection, when perfection means former utopias are replaced; ‘people were unwilling to abandon what they’d committed years of drudgery to acquire.’ Using still shots and soundtracks leaning towards the atmospheric ambient, both Alluvion and Evergreen have a languid pace that underlines the pleasure of looking that their subject references.

Litvintseva’s films have screened at the AC Institute in New York, Wroclaw Biennale and Alchemy Film & Moving Image Festival (among others) and her short film immortality, home and elsewhere (2015) screened as part of the programme Shorts: Secret Corners at the 69th Edinburgh International Film Festival.

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Alluvion

Alluvion and Evergreen continue White Coal’s themes of travel, the unreliability of the image and the documentation of industry, and point towards the following week’s Our Beloved Month of August, a film by Tabu director Miguel Gomes that usurps its own assumptions about documentary.

With three screenings (and four films) left in the season, if you haven’t been able to attend yet, there’s still time to take advantage of the £20 season ticket price. Below is the full run down of the season and you can find more information on the Facebook page here and EFG page here.

Sunday 8 November: MAN OF THE STORY (KATHAPURUSHAN). Adoor Gopalakrishnan/India, Japan/1995/102/Malayalam with English subtitles.

Sunday 15 November: WHITE COAL. Georg Tiller/Austria, Poland, Taiwan/2015/70 min/English and Chinese with English subtitles.

Sunday 22 November: ALLUVION/EVERGREEN. Alluvion/Sasha Litvintseva/UK/2013/31min. Evergreen/Sasha Litvintseva/UK/2014/50 min.

Sunday 29 November: OUR BELOVED MONTH OF AUGUST (AQUELE QUERIDO MES DE AGOSTO) Miguel Gomes/Portugal, France/2008/147 min/Portuguese with English subtitles.

Sunday 6 December: TIRED MOONLIGHT. Britni West/USA/2015/76 min.