What could the fate of the Villa Empain, Baron Empain’s crazy project in Brussels, which has gone through a long and eventful journey since its completion in 1934, possibly inspire? Katharina Kastner’s challenge was to draw the portrait of the place, keeping in mind the work of time, like in a human existence. Shot in 16mm, her film appeals to the senses, it captures the stirring of leaves undulating in the garden light, the movement of iridescent pearls, or the colourful games of a piece by Daniel Buren. Without a word, but with a caressing camera, she pays close attention to the hidden patterns on the gorgeous marbles, or to the veins in the most precious types of wood used to decorate the rooms. In slight touches, regardless of the monumental aspect of the 27.000 square-feet villa and the pool that so impressed its first visitors, Katharina Kastner o ers an organic vision of the place, which has been marked by the trials and tribulations of life, and used successively as a museum, an embassy and a squat, until its final renovation. The clever editing makes furtive connections, underlines colour associations, mixes up times and tactile sensations, while the spaces we explore keep rustling. The film takes us on a reminiscing journey, with slices of Empain’s life, from the family archive here on a holiday, there playing on the beach, images from a distant past that keep haunting the premises. The film reveals to us this living space that was designed like a piece of art, but it does so in a wandering way. This dream vision guides us through the villa like an echo of foregone fantasies, a mental space, but also a welcoming backdrop for the work of time. A bit like the fingerprint work we see in the film, or the slight touch of a pencil on a blank sheet. (N.F.)
Original version: without dialogue. Subtitles: Without subtitles. Script: Katharina Kastner. Image: Ivo Nelis. Editing: Olivia Degrez. Sound: Hélène Clerc-Denizot. Casting : Tamar Kasparian.
Production: The Moon Embassy (Nicola S. Sangs).
Distribution: Katharina Kastner. Filmography: Portraits of the Hill, 2017.
EP – Histoire(s) de Portrait
A young woman is reading The Songs of Maldoror. But the reading is unsettling: the voice over is split and repeats itself; the voice of the reader is followed by a whispered, hushed voice: the same...En savoir +
Alongside images, a text: poetic prose that punctuates a flow of images (of Provence, relatives, animals) that bit by bit form a network – remanences of the Algerian war that surface in the...En savoir +
Cinema and television also have their own lumpenproletariat, so far away from sequins, mu ing the screen. Marwa Arsanios only chooses to keep amateurs and extras so she can turn them into...En savoir +
A shooting: the blocking, the settings, the resumptions. Antecâmara uses images captured by the camera in-between takes. Then a dialectic of the gaze, both determined and free, sets in between the...En savoir +
Kain the Poet, the eloquent and loud-mouthed African-American and pioneer of hip-hop, reads accompanied by the experimental percussionist Lander Gyselinck. At the heart of his poem lies a cryptic...En savoir +
The Republic of Karelia is a region in Russia on the border with Finland. It’s home to the Pankrat’ev Family with their Shamanic legacy, devoted to communing with nature and holding on to...En savoir +
A sequence shot of the slightly slow-motion movement of hands massaging and caressing the surface, textured with scars like a zebra skin, of a vaguely anthropomorphic wax sculpture. For sound, we...En savoir +
A mother writes to her daughter, from one paradise to another: one is on holiday in the Mediterranean, the other is in a foster family in the Southern Hemisphere. On screen, shots of Italy alternate...En savoir +