Close Up

11 September 2023: The King Is Not My Cousin


The King Is Not My Cousin
Annabelle Aventurin, 2022, 30 min  

Bringing together poignant interview clips, excerpts of text and symbolic imagery, The King Is Not My Cousin is a familial documentary essay centred around resilience, history, and sacrifice. Filmmaker Annabelle Aventurin chronicles her grandmother’s experience from Guadeloupe, a journey of resilience and sacrifice across the Atlantic. The pair revisit anecdotes and historical experiences whilst exploring the meaning of Caribbean identity on colonial impact. Passages of Karukera ensoleillée, Guadeloupe échouée (“Sunny Karukera, Stranded Guadeloupe”), a book written in 1980 by Aventurin’s grandmother, point to the harrowing reality and repercussions of slavery. The mixture of the fond yet wounding first-person narrative creates an authentic composition of sound and moving image.

The Tree
Ana Vaz, 2022, 21 min

“In October of 2018, a year of overwhelming political, personal, and existential transformations, I decided to start filming a diary. I wanted to free myself from cinematographic practice as a constant exercise of projection and representation, and find a living cinema that would reflect the extraordinary quotidian side of life, with everything that usually remains on the sidelines, on the edges of a film. (…) A árvore is a ritual-film about my father – the artist, musician, and mystic of the forest – Guilherme Vaz, a man who lived and reflected on the frontier, on the fatal advance of modernity over the peoples of the earth, a man who wrote music instinctively, who thought of cinema as his ‘spiritual father’ and, above all, whose lived life was his greatest work.” – Ana Vaz

Quiet as It's Kept
Ja’Tovia Gary, 2023, 25 min  

Quiet as It’s Kept is a contemporary cinematic response to The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison’s first novel, published in 1970. Set in Ohio in 1941, the book is an evocative illustration of the everyday particulars of colourism and its ravaging effects on the intramural. Themes of embodiment, psychoanalysis, and beauty are explored in both the source text and the answering film. Instinctual and eviscerating, the film encourages viewers to make meaning that is rooted in the subjective and examine their position within looking relations. The film is an intimate collage of vintage Hollywood, direct animation, original super 8 and 16mm film footage, and documentary conventions. Meditating on the gaze and Black women’s particular embodied realities, Gary also re-contextualizes contemporary social media footage. Creating conceptual links for each viral clip to a character, event, or thematic element from Morrison’s story, the film emphasises questions around the book’s themes of internalised and externalised anti-blackness in contemporary culture.” – Ja’Tovia Gary

Followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers

Presented as part of Open City Documentary Festival – The Art of Non-Fiction