Ben Rivers & Ben Russell: A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness
Join our Facebook Event!
CROSSROADS 2014 is sponsored by Ninkasi Brewing.
Thanks to our co-presenters, community partners and advertisers: 23Five, Artists’ Television Access, BAVC, Canyon Cinema Foundation, the Center for New Music, The Exploratorium, Fandor, Oddball Film + Video, the SF Dance Film Festival, Shapeshifters Cinema and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
“There are creative collaborations and there are perfect unions. The newly born cinematic relationship between experimental documentarians Ben Russell and Ben Rivers seems to be the latter. …A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness lets the inclinations of both artists meld into one pensively celebrative journey into the outskirts that sees the human spirit glow in the shadow of societal norms. Part reflexive documentary and part narrative fabrication, the film follows the existential exploration of a nameless journeyman in three parts—from an island-bound commune in Estonia, to the solitary seclusion of the Finnish backwoods, and finally to the dark depths of a rock club in Norway where he joins fellow black metal musicians on stage in a breathtaking single take…
“Prior to their collaboration, both directors have explored life on the periphery at length [and] they make use of these unconventional situations to proclaim such proclivities as the pinnacle of human hope. It is in the oddities of life that people often find relief from the pressures of society that seem to be walling them in. […] It takes a few moments to realize why [the film] begin[s] with a slow rotating shot set afloat in the center of a lake just prior to the glow of dawn, but it’s soon obvious that the blackened reflection of the treeline that surrounds the lake is a symbolic depiction of this very concept. We are endlessly surrounded by a metaphoric shadow that imposes at every moment, but we as humans always find ways to push back.
“In the case of our weary traveler, the philosophic experimentation and sexual freedom of communal life, the meditative reflection of serene solitude amongst green overgrowth, and the euphoric expulsion of emotional indignation of strapping on a guitar and screaming his larynx raw all point to one common conclusion: for some people’s survival, dabbling in the darkness is of absolute necessity. […]these odd experiences keep him alive, moving and connected through outsider association.” (Jordan M. Smith: “The Brothers Ben Find Supernal Solace on the Fringe.” IonCinema.)
Kadist Art Foundation encourages the contribution of the arts to society, conducting programs primarily with artists represented in its collection to promote their role as cultural agents. Kadist’s collections and productions reflect the global scope of contemporary art, and its programs develop collaborations between Kadist’s local contexts (Paris, San Francisco) and artists, curators and art institutions worldwide.