Uncanny Landscapes

84 mins.
Directed by various directors


Curated by Irina Leimbacher, Assistant Professor of Film at Keene State College.

Presented as part of the film series X (Unknown Quantity), programmed by Josh Guilford, Visiting Assistant Professor of English in Film and Media Studies at Amherst College.

This program presents recent short films that depict, and comment on, the natural and human-made/marked world.

Using film to observe, decipher, imagine, or reconstruct landscapes and human interventions that alter them, these works illuminate and interrogate our spatial and temporal perceptions of the planet we inhabit.

BROUILLARD PASSAGE # 14 by Alexandre Larose
2013, 35mm, color, silent, 10 minutes
BROUILLARD-PASSAGE # 14 uses in-camera layering of approximately 30 walks down a bucolic path towards a lake shore to create a dense and luminous landscape that unfolds and disintegrates under temporal displacement.

SOMNIUM by Rosa Barba
2011, digital file, color, sound, 19 minutes
SOMNIUM is a hybrid documentary - science fiction film based on excerpts from a novel by Johannes Kepler (1608) and interviews with local residents living near a land suppletion project in the Netherlands.  We see images of the new land, a storage reservoir for contaminated sludge, and the construction of huge docksides, while listening to one story taking place in the future and another of a local beekeeper whose hives are now surrounded by silos for oil storage.

2005, digital file, color, sound, 12 minutes
SITE SPECIFIC_SHANGHAI 04 is shot from a helicopter flying above the city.  The uncanny portrait of this postmodern megalopolis is a depiction of Shanghai’s extraordinary growth, its architectural and social variability, and its inhuman dimension from a rarely seen aerial perspective.

THE DIGGER by Ali Cherri
2015, dcp, color, sound, 25 minutes
THE DIGGER follows the daily perambulations of Sultan Zeib Khan, the caretaker guarding the ruins of a Neolithic necropolis in the Sharjah desert for the last twenty years.  Sultan preserves archeological ruins, keeping them from falling into ruin. Surrounding these empty graves is the vastness of the desert. Here the absence of corpses is more unsettling than their presence.

2015, 35mm, color, sound, 18.5 minutes
ENGRAM OF RETURNING is a 35mm metaphysical travelogue constructed out of found and reconfigured footage and accompanied by an improvisational score by Montreal-based musician Jason Sharp.  Re-membered and fused landscapes pulse and flicker to create ecstatic jolts of color and form.


About Irina Leimbacher:

Irina Leimbacher holds a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, an M.F.A. from San Francisco State University, and a B.A. from Yale University. Her writing focuses primarily on nonfiction film and media in a global context. She also has worked as a professional film programmer and continues to occasionally curate film programs and to serve on juries of festivals or grant-giving organizations. She writes regularly for the magazine Film Comment and currently is working on a book on testimony in film. Several of her articles can be found on the academia.edu website.

At Keene State, Irina Leimbacher teaches classes on Film History, Documentary Film, First-Person Filmmaking, Film in the 1960s, Slow Cinema, French Cinema, World Cinema, Film Programming, Film,Time and Memory, and other courses. Irina engages students in exploring non-conventional films and international works from all over the globe. As often as possible she incorporates filmmaking projects into her critical studies classes.