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Engagement and Learning > Talks, Lectures & Events

IMMA / IFI Screening Series - As Above, So Below

In response to the major exhibition As Above, So Below: Portals, Visions, Spirits & Mystics, 13 April-27 August 2017, the IFI and IMMA present a special series of selected films that looks at narratives of mysticism, occult and transcendence in feature titles and artists experimental Film.  

In keeping with the artworks in the exhibition, the films that feature here, from directors as diverse as Krzysztof Kieslowski, Ingmar Bergman, Barbara McCullough and Robert Altman, transcend the limitations of what is conventionally understood as spiritual. They expand to embrace ideas around mysticism, ritual, human consciousness, the otherworld and the occult.  While a direct correspondence or through-line can be discerned in some instances - Alejandro Jodorowsky and Kenneth Anger feature both in the exhibition and in this film selection, thereby providing the opportunity to engage with their extraordinary work in different contexts - in other cases, the connections are less explicit, giving the viewer the chance to perceive for her or himself possible kinships between specific films and artworks.  

See screening titles below. To purchase tickets visit the IFI booking office booking office here.
IMMA is offering all ticket holders attending any of the IFI As Above, So Below Film series, a two for one entry into the exhibition As Above, So Below here at IMMA. Please show your IFI ticket at IMMA's main reception to avail of this offer.
WINGS OF DESIRE
WIM WENDERS (DER HIMMEL UBER BERLIN)
Saturday, 6 MAY, 4.00pm / IFI
127 minutes, 1987, West Germany-France, Subtitled, DCP
Set in a desolate, wall-divided Berlin, Wings of Desire struck a chord with audiences world-wide upon its release in 1987.  Bruno Ganz plays Damiel, one of many invisible angels who populate the city, bearing witness and listening in on the thoughts of people living there.  When Damiel falls in love with Solveig Dommartin’s trapeze artist, he resolves to forgo his immortality, a decision he makes after hearing Peter Falk describe the unequalled pleasure of drinking a coffee, smoking a cigarette or sketching a picture.  Shot mostly in monochrome and featuring an iconic performance from Nick Cave, this reflexive film about the act of watching should still feel pertinent to contemporary viewers.   


THE DOUBLE LIFE OF VERONIQUE
KRZYSZTOF KIEŚLOWSKI (LA DOUBLE VIE DE VÉRONIQUE)
Wednesday, 10 MAY, 6.30pm / IFI
98 minutes, 1991, France-Poland-Norway, Subtitled, DCP
When asked to describe what subject matter The Double Life of Veronique considers, director Krzysztof Kieslowski answered, ‘the realm of superstitions, fortune-telling, presentiments, intuition, dreams.’ Starring the then unknown Irene Jacob, the Cannes Jury and Critics prize-winning film follows two identical women who never speak to each other but nevertheless perceive an uncanny, psychic connection.  Weronika is a Polish singer who abruptly leaves her home town and takes on a demanding solo part in a concert with tragic consequences while Veronique, who inadvertently photographs Weronika while on a trip to Krakow, is a music teacher living in Paris whose life shares a number of mysterious synchronicities with her Polish counterpart.   

FROM THE VAULTS:
IMAGES
ROBERT ALTMAN
Wednesday 17 MAY 6.30pm / IFI
101 minutes, 1972, U.K.-U.S.A., 35mm
Shot in Wicklow in 1971 with a mostly Irish crew, Altman’s Images is one of the director’s most powerful and underrated works. Winner of the Best Actress Award at Cannes for her performance, Susannah York plays Cathryn, a disturbed author whose husband brings her to an isolated cottage after she suffers a traumatic hallucinatory episode in their London home. Haunted by visions of herself and a deceased lover however, Cathryn increasingly struggles to distinguish between reality and a wholly convincing set of frightening illusions.  Shot by Vilmos Zsigmond and narrated by York reading passages from her own dreamlike children’s book, this is a uniquely visual study on the relationship between perception and the human psyche.  

THE HOLY MOUNTAIN
ALEJANDRO JODOROWSKY (LA MONTANA SAGRADA)
Wednesday, 24 MAY, 6.30pm / IFI
115 minutes, 1973, Mexico, Subtitled, 35mm
Partly financed by Yoko Ono and John Lennon who were unequivocal champions of the surrealist El Topo (1970), The Holy Mountain is arguably an even greater cinematic accomplishment for director Jodorowsky who also assumed the central role of ‘The Alchemist’ in the film, a figure who leads a small group of disparate characters through a series of transformation rituals in order to discover the secret of immortality.  A visionary spiritual quest partially based on Rene Daumal’s 1952 metaphysical novel ‘Mount Analogue’, Jodorowsky famously used hallucinogens on set and removed as much dialogue from the finished film as possible to allow the spellbinding, psychedelic imagery to speak for itself.  

This film will be introduced by Rachael Thomas, Senior Curator: Head of Exhibitions at IMMA.  

SHOPPING BAG, SPIRITS AND FREEWAY FETISHES: REFLECTIONS ON RITUAL SPACE + INVOCATION OF MY DEMON BROTHER
BARBARA MCCULLOUGH + KENNETH ANGER
Tuesday, 30 May, 6.30pm / IFI
Shopping Bag, Spirits and Freeway Fetishes, 60 minutes, 1981, U.S.A., Digibeta; Invocation of My Demon Brother, 12 minutes, 1969, U.S.A., 16mm
A key figure in the L.A. Rebellion film movement, which saw the emergence of a Black Cinema that offered a vital alternative to Hollywood output, Barbara McCullough was also a student of Shirley Clarke’s who persistently encouraged experimentation with both form and technology.  Opening with an extract from her own landmark feminist project, Water Ritual #1: An Urban Rite of Purification, McCullough’s film then moves on to interviews with nine Los Angeles-based artists about how ritual informs their work and practice.  Screening with this is Kenneth Anger’s occultish short, Invocation of My Demon Brother, mostly shot in San Francisco and scored by Mick Jagger on an analogue synthesiser.  

This film will be introduced by Filmmaker, Barbara McCullough,  current Chair of the Visual Effects Department at Savannah College of Art and Design – SCAD, USA.
WINTER LIGHT
INGMAR BERGMAN (NATTVARDSGÄSTERNA)
Wednesday, 31 May, 6.30pm / IFI
81 minutes, 1963, Sweden, Subtitled, DCP
The second in a trilogy of Bergman films on religious faith, Winter Light takes place one stark afternoon in a Swedish village where Tomas Ericsson, a widowed pastor (Gunnar Bjornstrand) struggles to preside over his dwindling congregation.  Enduring his own crisis of spirituality, Ericsson is unable to offer solace to a local fisherman (Max von Sydow) suffering a debilitating fear of nuclear attack.  After reading a beseeching letter from a local schoolteacher (Ingrid Thulin) he has been involved with - delivered in the form of a staggering 6-minute direct to-camera address - he then shuns her advances only to find comfort later in the performance of rituals that have become nothing more than routine.  

 

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