A young woman walks into a cold, anonymous hotel room and starts unpacking. She takes out some clothes and puts them in the closets, together with a few books, that we only see from afar at first, but which are the real reason for her visit. Young Sofia is going to Harvard Library to read the correspondence between her great-grand-mother, Polish poet Zofia Bohdanowiczowa, and poet Józef Wittlinn.
The title MS Slavic 7 is actually the reference code of the bunch of letters. The film traces the exploration of a literary lineage. Sofia Bohdanowicz is played on screen by actress and co-director Deragh Campbell. In frontal compositions based on symmetry, she lingers on every element that may lead to or hinder the emergence of meaning, the construction of the image of her ancestor, known only through the literary and epistolary traces she has left behind. The materiality of letters, at once items to be handled and the focus of inheritance quarrels, matters as much to the director as their content. Thereby Sofia, portrayed by Deragh, spends as much time handling them with care, as she does building a meticulous text analysis, in shots without reverse shots. The person she is speaking to might be the translator of the letters, or maybe someone else who will remain unknown, it doesn’t matter; Bohdanowicz’s real subject is the patient process of shining a light, both literally and intellectually, on a story of which she is the depository, and on how this excavation resonates today. (N.L.)
- Other gems
MS Slavic 7
- Other gems
Canada / 2019 / Color / HD, Stereo / 64’
Original version: English, Polish.
Screenplay: Sofia Bohdanowicz, Deragh Campbell.
Cinematography and sound: Sofia Bohdanowicz.
Editing : Sofia Bohdanowicz, Deragh Campbell.
Cast: Deragh Campbell, Elizabeth Rucker.
Production : Calvin Thomas, Sofia Bohdanowicz, Deragh Campbell.
Distribution : Sofia Bohdanowicz.
INTERVIEW WITH THE DIRECTOR
France / 2019 / Color and B&W / Stereo / 57’
Original version : French. Cinematography: Diane Veyrat, Laurent Fénart. Editing : Janine Waeber. Music: Sara Oswald, Virgil Van Ginneken. Sound : Diane Veyrat. Production : Zadig Productions (Dominique Gibrail), Caravel Production (Caroline Velan). Distribution : Caravel Production (Caroline Velan). INTERVIEW WITH THE DIRECTOR
Switzerland / 2019 / Color / HD, Dolby Digital / 60’
Original version : French. Subtitles : English. Script : Sergio da Costa, Maya Kosa. Photography : Sergio da Costa. Editing : Sergio da Costa, Maya Kosa, Gabriel Gonzalez. Sound : Xavier Lavorel. Casting : Antonin Ivanidze, Paul Sauteur, Emilie Bréthaut. Production : Close Up Films (Joëlle Bertossa & Flavia Zanon). Distribution : Close Up Films (Flavia Zanon). INTERVIEW WITH THE DIRECTORS
Canada / 2019 / Color / 4K / 35’
Original version : English. Subtitles : French. Photography : Iris Ng, Claire Harvey. Editing : Annie MacDonell, Maïder Fortuné. Sound: Julia Wittman, Polina Teif. Casting : Fiona Reid, Madelyne Beckles, Deragh Campbell. Production : Annie MacDonell, Maïder Fortuné. Distribution : Annie MacDonell, Maïder Fortuné. INTERVIEW WITH THE DIRECTOR
United-States / 1981 / Color / 16 mm Blow up to 35 mm / 90’
Original version : English. Photography : Lech Kowalsi, Rufus Standefer, Ron Zimmermann, Joe Sutherland, Jared Fitzgerald, Raifi Ferrucci, Peter Chapman. Editing : Val Kuklowsky, Lech Kowalski. Sound : Ron Yoshida, Doug Jackson, David King, Marshall Grupp, Athan Gigiakos. Music : Sex Pistols, X-Ray Spex, Generation X, Iggy Pop, The Dead Boys, clash, Augustus Pablo, Terry and the Idiots, Sham 69, The Rich Kids. Production : Extinkt Films. Distribution : Revolt Cinema (Odile Allard).
France / 2019 / Color / HDV, Stereo / 13’
Original version: French. Subtitles: English. Screenplay, Cinematography, Editing: Joachim Gatti, Gaël Marsaud. Sound: Jean-Baptiste Leroux, Alexandre Frigoult. Cast: Stéphanie Béghain. Production and distribution: Dekadrage (Stephanos Mangriotis).INTERVIEW WITH THE DIRECTORS