Close Up

12 - 20 November 2022: (In)Visible Cities

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“With cities, it is as with dreams…their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else.” – Italo Calvino

Inspired by Italo Calvino’s novel Invisible Cities, this four-part programme explores imagined and imaginary cities on screen, reflecting on the relationship between city and storytelling. Curated by Massimo Iannetti and featuring newly produced essays on the films, introductions and Q&As with the directors, the season invites us to reflect on our many experiences of the city.


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Innocence of Memories
Grant Gee, 2015, 97 min
English & Turkish with English subtitles

Grant Gee turns his lens to Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk, Istanbul and the Museum of Innocence – both actual and fictional – that he opened there. Gliding through the streets of the city, the film narrates the forbidden love affair between wealthy Kemal and shop assistant Fusun, told through the trinkets, photos and household objects displayed like clues in the cabinets of this beguiling space of memorialization. Based on the novel by the same author, Innocence of Memories mixes imagined narratives with real-world reflections, untangling the fictional narrator’s recollections of a story tucked in the cobbles of the city as in the words of a book.


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Hiwa
Jacqueline Lentzou, 2017, 11 min
Filipino with English Subtitles

Jacqueline Lentzou’s nightmarish vision follows Jay, a Filipino man who wakes up in Manila, yet he dreamed of Athens, roaming the cityscape on a special quest to save his two daughters. Both surreal and contemplative, the city in this evocative short gradually takes on the appearance of the dream it recounts.

Molecole
Andrea Segre, 2020, 68 min
Italian with English Subtitles
UK Premiere

Shot between February and April 2020, Molecole follows its director as he navigates between the canals of a Venice seemingly frozen and emptied out of tourists, while reflecting on the memory of a turbulent relationship with his father. Blending poetry and simplicity, Segre’s intimate dialogue with the inescapable, which “simply poured out, like water”, reveals what lies beneath the now suddenly calm surface of a city floating between emptiness and disappearing, grandiosity and fragility.


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Victoria
Sofie Benoot, Liesbeth De Ceulaer & Isabelle Tollenaere, 2020, 71 min

In the Mojave Desert lies a half-abandoned, half-finished plan of a city that was intended to become the rivalling twin city of Los Angeles had it been completed. Today, in a grid of crumbling buildings, Lashay T. Warren roams the deserted streets, collecting objects, encounters and words for his diary. Victoria sets foot in a once imagined urban settlement and tries to make sense of a missing place, mapping out the intangible and exploring a world of ghosts and beauty, whilst providing a lyrical meditation on space, place and the importance of belonging, even to the invisible.


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View from Above
Hiwa K, 2017, 13 min

During an interview to qualify as refugees, people are asked detailed descriptions of the city they claim to come from, which are scrupulously matched to confirm they are telling the truth. View from Above is an audio-visual diary of struggle and solidarity, found somewhere between the map and the mind, the real and the fictitious.

El sembrador de estrellas
Lois Patiño, 2022, 25 min
Japanese with English Subtitles
UK Premiere

Award-winning director Lois Patiño crafts a mesmerizing nocturnal journey through a liquid Tokyo, where two voices travel through the city, talking about this and that, and say goodbye to everything. Between voiceover and literature references, El sembrador de estrellas is a metaphysical reflection on existence drawing the contours of the unreal.

Terranova
Alejandro Pérez Serrano & Alejandro Alonso Estrella, 2021, 50 min
Spanish with English Subtitles
UK Premiere

Terranova is a city made of reflections, memories of other cities, and visions of the future. A city that defies the city. By grounding myths in a contemporary reading, Terranova is a poetic and philosophical subversion of the city symphony, moving on the margins of the surreal, between amorphous structures and distorted perspectives, and confronting us with a non-place made of concrete and abstraction, and with a question: “What is the city to you?”


Curated by Massimo Iannetti as part of the Film Studies, Programming and Curation MA at the National Film and Television School (NFTS)