It all starts with the Eskimos waiting for the end of the polar night, which is about to give way to the sun. However, on the appointed day, the sun does not appear in the sky. It does not happen the next day. Excited residents turn to the village shaman for help, who deceives the hunters to give him all hunting trophies for shamming, and vilely refuses to help. And then the brave young hunter sets off in search of the sun.
In this American Film Institute-subsidized short subject, Fionnula Flanagan plays a sharp-tongued but compassionate nun, while Peter Lempert is cast as a sullen, emotionally disturbed boy. The title refers to the “thawing” process that occurs when the nun attempts to break through Lempert’s wall of silence.
The images in this film come from an extensive collection of out-dated raw stock that has been processed without being exposed, and sometimes rephotographed in closer format. Each pattern of grain takes on its own emotional life, an evocation of different aspects of our own being.
David Gladwell (Requiem for a Village) was just 20 years old when he made A Summer Discord, an imaginative amateur, silent short film set in the countryside which tells the story of a little girl who is reprimanded by her mother. Of particular note is the film’s dark nightmare sequence which is shot in colour (unlike the rest of the film) and which anticipates Gladwell’s later, highly poetical films.
While on assignment to document poverty in Brazil for Life magazine, African American photographer Gordon Parks encountered one of the most important subjects of his career: Flávio da Silva. Parks featured the resourceful, ailing boy, who lived with his family in one of Rio’s working-class neighborhoods known as favelas, in his 1961 photo essay “Freedom’s Fearful Foe: Poverty.” His reportage resulted in donations from Life readers but also sparked controversy.
Towards the end of the year, in a train station, a passenger stops to chat with a peddler who is selling his almanacs and asks him an apparently simple question: “Is the forthcoming year going to be happy?” Based on a dialogue by Giacomo Leopardi.
The torso of a man. His arms reach into the off-screen space and pick up photographs, which he then places for us to see in the middle of a glass panel positioned between him and the spectator. The speed of the procedure increases, until 24 photographs per second become visible, thus turning into a cinematic trajectory driving down the Pasadena freeway.
After the death of his son, father Walter throws away his red jacket. With an aid transport, the jacket arrives in the embattled Sarajevo, where little Nikola steals it. The red jacket becomes a loyal companion on the boy’s escape from the war.