THE LENGTH OF MY GAZE AT NIGHT
Minia Biabiany’s work (films, installations, sculptures) is informed by her experience as a Guadeloupean woman, she is unapologetic about her work being inseparable from her homeland. Here, water is the main element in her interlocked narratives, and the oceans form a common space carrying a memory that she questions, from her native Guadeloupe, a land marked by slavery and colonisation. The film is interspersed with statements, written directly on screen, and one of them fittingly reads that the sea “tastes like ancestors”. The sea there is steeped in History, like an Atlantique noir, to quote Paul Gilroy’s eloquent title. Minia Biabiany endeavours to celebrate the ghosts of that history. Thus unfolds this film-poem, in which perception and imagination “are one”. Without overstating anything, the director takes these paradoxes and make them the real subject of her film. She playfully inverts the normal order of things, truly or metaphorically, from top to bottom, from sounds to silence, from the visible to the invisible. Silence is the film’s primary and most striking component – the silence of the oceans, of the dead, of History. Stroke by stroke, Minia Biabiany outlines these various layers, through shots that exude a mute, enigmatic and sensory intensity. This stylistic device is only enhanced by a shift in viewpoint, with insects, plants and humans echoing each other in a common world. These connections are also at work in the magnificent chalk drawings on a blackboard, that seem to mirror the making of a kwi, a traditional cooking vessel. The structure of the film is anchored in its patchy fragments, in a game of echoes and transmission, so as to retrieve the “broken lines of history”. That thin thread is maintained when our gaze reaches beyond the visible, as the title suggests.
Original version : english
Subtitles : french
Script : Minia Biabiany
Photography : Minia Biabiany
Editing : Minia Biabiany
Sound : Minia Biabiany
Production : Minia Biabiany.
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