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February 17: This Must Be The Place – Four films on migration, belonging, & temporary homes


Sunday February 17, 2008, 7:00 pm

At the Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian

Los Angeles Filmforum presents
This Must Be The Place – Four films on migration, belonging, & temporary homes

Meditations on itinerant lifestyles, immigration, travel and memory,
filmed in places as disparate as Bangalore, India; Queens NY; and Valencia, CA.

Films include:

The Garden City by Vera Brunner-Sung (2007, 16mm, 13:30 min, shot in Bangalore, India, and Valencia, CA)
Recordando el Ayer by Alexandra Cuesta (2007, 16mm, 10 min, shot in Queens NY)
Footnotes to A House of Love by Laida Lertxundi (2007, 16mm, 13 min., shot in the California desert)
Lay Down Tracks by Brigid McCaffrey and Danielle Lombardi (2006, 16mm, 61 min, shot in America, Bolivia, Sri Lanka, and Morocco)

All the films are on 16mm. TRT about 95min.

More details:

The Garden City
By Vera Brunner-Sung (2007, 16mm, 10 min.)

To what extent can we control the lived environment, and how does this impact our lives? A letter recounts a journey from American suburbia to a foreign city, becoming a meditation on growth and development that suggests all landscapes are human. – Vera Brunner-Sung

Recordando El Ayer
By Alexandra Cuesta (2007, 16mm, 10 min.)

Memory and identity are observed through textures of everyday life in a portrait of Jackson Heights, home to a large Latin American immigrant population. Images of street, people, and daily rituals render passing of time in a neighborhood that becomes a mirror not just of another place, but also of the past. The landscape visually reflects the space as a creation of a new home while revealing displacement within the new condition. The meaning of home is explored and built upon collective recollection.

Alexandra Cuesta is an experimental filmmaker and photographer born in Quito, Ecuador. She taught photography at Universidad San Francisco de Quito and was involved with the community as an independent curator and artist for art exhibitions in appropriated spaces. She participated in various film projects (From Beirut With Love, Paradise, Crossings) that have taken her to Cuba, France, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine and Mexico. She currently resides in Los Angeles, California where she is pursuing an MFA in Film/ Video at the California Institute of the Arts. Recordando el Ayer has shown at the New York Film Festival, Viennale Film Festival, Onion City Film Festival, among others.

Footnotes to a House of Love
By Laida Lertxundi (2007, 13 min, 16mm, color/sound)

A series of shots in a California desert landscape and an abandoned house in which there is a play between on frame and off frame sound. There is an effort to create the space of a story, without a story, by the use of real time/diegetic sound. The film is laboriously honouring play. Love is felt as a force that remains almost off the frame and determines the arrangement of the figures in the landscape. Recently screened at the New York Film Festival Views from the Avant-Garde

“The desert, so often a stand-in for other places imagined by Hollywood, here is barren and bright, set to the tune of Leslie Gore and the Kinks playing through an intrepid little tape deck…The music plays in most of the film like a radio signal, a relic of another time, now gone. The film is pervaded with the sense of something having happened, though we’re given only brief glimpses of what came after.” — Genevieve Yue, Senses of Cinema

“Laida Lertxundi’s Footnotes to a House of Love is the type of thing you hope for at a festival: something remarkable by someone you’ve never heard of. Not much happens in the film – much to its credit. A young couple inhabits a dilapidated house in the California desert. They read, play the cello, piss, but mostly just walk about. Their actions, however, are entirely peripheral to the film. Footnotes is most centrally about the presence of place, the house and the desert beyond, and the possibilities they seem to invite. Narratives and relationships are only just hinted at and seemingly swallowed up by the surroundings. There is a subtle mysteriousness to the place that could easily have made it a site for terror, or at least danger, but this is constantly leavened by a gentle, disarming playfulness and teasing.” — Patrick Friel, Senses of Cinema

Lay Down Tracks
By Brigid McCaffrey and Danielle Lombardi (2006, 61 min, 16mm, color/sound)

This 16mm film closely follows five American workers who have based their lives around traveling. It journeys through the shifting surroundings of a retired carnival worker, young woman trucker, railroad executive, chimney sweep/surfer, and a nun/riverboat pilot. While they reflect on their work and the worlds they traverse, the camera takes in both what is fleeting and familiar. Interweaving these personal narratives from diverging factions of transient work culture, the tenuous relationship between aspirations and necessities is considered.

Selected Press for Lay Down Tracks:

“American transience is the subject of Lay Down Tracks, a beguilingly direct and engagingly unpretentious ultra-low-budget documentary produced, directed, photographed and edited by first-time film-makers Lombardi and McCaffrey… Their tools were chiefly a 16mm camera and a tape-recorder, resulting in a film which makes a creative virtue out of the absence of conventional “synch” sound. The simplicity of their equipment plays a major part in the intimacy with which Lombardi and McCaffrey record their subjects… All are articulate and reflective individuals, who speak about how they make their living, and what travel has come to mean to them… These are journeys which are parallel, never physically intersecting: they are ‘joined’ only by their encounters with the film-makers, and as elements of the journey made through the film made by the viewer. And it’s a pleasurable, hour-long trip, as we move from place to atmospheric place (captured via some rough-edged but often striking camerawork) and from voice to articulate voice, sound and image occasionally dovetailing, occasionally diverging, occasionally forming an arresting counterpoint… Lay Down Tracks ultimately emerges as a casually democratic collage of ‘found’ Americana, poised at a fruitful, underexplored midpoint between anthropological survey and by-the-people-for-the-people folk-art.”
Neil Young. 11/07/06

“This documentary closely follows a handful of individuals who have pursued a different kind of American Dream: no boss, open road, live free or die… The camera lingers on those things that provide constancy in these people’s lives: the large machines they use for work and the environments they construct within and around them.
Long, lonely hours and transient relationships do not seem to douse the spirits of Lay Down Tracks‘ characters, but their stories do evoke a sense of pathos. They speak candidly about the routines, responsibilities and decisions that have guided them so far, and it becomes clear that even a life that praises freedom above all other ideals can grow into habits and circumstances that are not easily revised. Even when we put the map away to enjoy the view, we’re still going somewhere.
— New York Underground Festival Program, 03/06