directors lounge monthly screening
lior shamriz —
beyond love and other things to do
Thursday, 30 May 2013
Berlin Premiere of “Beyond Love and Companionship" and program of shorts. Lior Shamriz, who just premiered his new film at Oberhausen presents a selection of works from 8 years of filmmaking in Berlin and Israel together with his newest film.
Lior Shamriz is telling stories in his films. Stories of rebellious youth coming to age between Israel and Berlin. At the same time, he is describing the life of an intellectual, art-related scene in Berlin and Israel and aspects of middle-class life in Israel. And he does so without any heroic over- or undertone.
This youth seem to have set about to deny any established forms and ideologies, like many generations before: against the nucleus family, against a career in industry or other professions, and against consumerism. However, its tragedy (and maybe the driving force for Lior Shamriz's impressive productivity dealing with this theme) is the lack of another "bigger goal" as offered by society, such as religion, spiritual tracks or even art. All of these appear at some place or the other in Shamriz's narratives, but never taken for seriously, and just seen as nothing more than a style of clothes you can exchange for another. His protagonists thus have nothing more to struggle for than their right for happiness. Most surprisingly, politics seem to play an even lesser role. Thinking about it, and even if there is no mention of it, politics may even be a more shallow offer to the protagonists than consumerism.
Even though director Shamriz plays with every possible boy-girl, girl-boy, boy-boy or girl-girl combination for the relations in his stories, he avoids melodrama (most of the time) but realizes dramatical tensions by experimenting with different narrative forms in each of his films. The most consistent quality of his movies, however, is the linear flow of narrative time. Not only does he never make use of flashback, or episode time-breaks, but it almost seems as time in his movies is flowing in real-time speed. This of course is just an illusion for the viewer and shows his sophisticated use of continuous editing techniques. According to Shamriz, it also has to do with his early interest for improvised acting and theatrical performance, documented in some of his early films (such as "Return to Savanna" and "Ho! Terrible Exteriors"). It may also be related to the mixture of documentary and fiction typical for the director's work. Places are often real apartments and never stage-sets, outside shootings often include passer-byes and observations as a natural part of the scene. Even the actors often play a mix between their own character and the given motivation of the protagonist.
The sense of narrative time provided is definitively also related to the artist's techniques for leading his actors. Partly script-writing, partly rehearsed improvisation, partly direct improvisation, in addition to his openness to include real stories into the narrative (like the hospiz story by actress Klara Höfels in the film "Beyond Love and Companionship"), and his experiments with sound, the relation between acting and sound, voice-over and titles, all lead to a deconstruction similar to theatre techniques by Brecht or shifts in traditional cinema by Godard. Lior Shamriz's stance for anti-ideology, the denial of identification, while his protagonists still struggle for a meaning in life, may put him close to French existentialism or even Russian pre-revolution nihilism; however, these intellectual movements still had a clear political enemy: conservatism and the "establishment", while Shamriz's protagonists don't have such counter-parts. Even the celebration of some gay, or camp culture in some of his films does not seem to meet an intolerant equivalent: both parents and society appear to be quite tolerant. Thus, his characters seem to be left to struggle with themselves.
The new film "Beyond Love and Companionship", which will have its Berlin premiere at Z-bar, however is different in many aspects. Not only do we encounter a non-diegetic narrator and time episodes. The main protagonist meets an older friend who puts her into turmoil, first by a moving story from her past, then by a post-mortal message. Still, the viewer is left to guess what the consequences are for the younger woman. Lior Shamriz here expands his narrative to the open form of a novella (short novel), and the more general question of the social position of artists in society.
The artist will be present for Q&A.
Curated by Klaus W. Eisenlohr