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A co-presentation with CFMDC and the Images Festival (April 12 – 21, 2001)
Philip Hoffman has long been recognized as Canada’s pre-eminent diary filmmaker. For over twenty years he has been straining history through personal fictions, using the material of his life to deconstruct the Griersonian legacy of documentary practice. As an artist working directly upon the material of film, Hoffman is keenly attuned to the shape of seeing, foregrounding the image and its creation as well as the manufacture of point-of-view. Hoffman’s films are deeply troubled in their remembrances; beginning with On the Pond (1978), he dusts off the family archive to examine how estrangement fuels a fascination with the familiar surroundings of home.
Mortality forms the absent centre of Philip Hoffman’s oeuvre, a body of films that seem to foreshadow a penultimate loss that will take the maker to the outer and inner reaches of grief. Through the repeating figure of death – whether a boy lying on a Mexican roadside, the death of an elephant at the Rotterdam Zoo, or his uncle’s legacy of insanity and death in passing through/torn formations (1988) – Hoffman approaches the limits of representation and the ethical burdens of vision and reproduction.
The world premiere of What these ashes wanted (2001) places flesh on the poet Ann Carson’s words “death lines every moment of ordinary time.” With this new work Hoffman resides in an acutely intimate time, a daily practice of loss lived precariously between the terror of psychic disintegration and the provisional solace taken through public rituals of mourning. What these ashes wanted is not a story of surviving death, but rather, of living death through a heightening of the quotidian moments of everyday experience.
Saturday, April 14, 7 pm
On the Pond (1978, 9:00 min.)
What these ashes wanted (2001, 58:00 min.) World Premiere
Sunday, April 15, 9 pm
Somewhere Between Jalostotitlan and Encarnacion (1984, 6:00 min.)
?O, Zoo! (The Making of a Fiction Film) (1986, 23:00 min.)
passing through/torn formations (1988, 43:00 min.)
Opening Series II (1992, 10:00 min.) Ongoing Project