CULTURE

Moving images from around the world at Synch

Significant artists such as Andy Warhol, Neil Jordan and Nicholas Rey, together with up-and-coming and specialized artists from film and multimedia, will be featured at the Synch Festival, a showcase of avant-garde artistic expression in music, film and the visual arts. The «Moving Image – Kinema» section of the event will run alongside the core music section, from July 6 to 8, with screenings to be held at the Goethe Institute (on July 6) in Athens and the Technological and Cultural Park at Lavrion (July 7 and 8). The film section comprises over 120 medium-length and short films from around the globe, which are separated into four thematic units: «A, E, I, O, U,» an international forum of films mostly made after 2000, but also some earlier ones, which reflect the current trends in experimental filmmaking. There is «Underground,» a section of 20 films compiled by Wilhelm Hein, Howard Guttenplan and Claus Loeser that illustrate the rise and fall of the movement; «Super-8,» which, as the title suggests, presents films shot in this film format; and a competition section that has invited Greeks, Greeks of the diaspora and foreigners living in Greece to show their work. Among the highlights of the screening schedule are Warhol’s «Kiss» and «Mario Banana.» Some researchers of the late artist’s work say that the filming of «Kiss» took place in November-December 1963, though there is evidence to suggest that he may have started the film earlier, in August of the same year, and completed it in late 1964. According to some sources, the idea for «Kiss,» which depicts closeups of couples kissing for a full three minutes, came about as a reaction to the so-called Hayes Office regulation which prohibited film actors to be shown touching lips for more than three seconds. «Mario Banana,» on the other hand, was inspired by Mario Montez, a drag queen muse used by Warhol in many films. In this 1964 film, Warhol shows Montez in closeups eating a banana in a humorous yet provocative manner. Neil Jordan, director of «The Crying Game» and «Breakfast on Pluto,» among others, will be represented at the festival by his 14-minute «Not I,» which was inspired by the 1972 Samuel Beckett play in which a woman in a chair has a spotlight just on her mouth and struggles in a monologue to say the word «I.» Other films worth noting are Kenneth Anger’s 2005 «Mouse Heaven,» which takes an unconventional look at the symbolism of Mickey Mouse, and Paris University professor Frederique Devaux’s «K» series on women in Algeria. Devaux has made over 30 documentary and experimental films, and has published numerous books on art and cinema. Another unlikely take on a daily theme is Nicholas Rey’s 1996, 10-minute «Terminus for You,» in which the filmmaker juxtaposes cinema with subway escalator posters from the point of view of the passengers on the moving staircases.