Home Thoughts from a Camera 4

07 April 2015

Region: London

Looking at other people's work often is inspiring. This is especially so if, like me, you are an aspiring videographer. Many interesting questions arose from London-Cine's group visit to Tate Britain to see work by Daria Martin and Massimiliano Mollona.

The screening included the first corporate showing of 'Steel Town', a collaboration between the two film makers centred on Volta Redonda, home of South America's largest steel factory. The plant covers 25 square kilometres in the centre of the town. Volta Redonda is a highly controlled environment seemingly energetically policed by the steel company.
The discussion brought out intriguing aspects of film making in a highly controlled environment particularly how people find ways to express their concerns that get around the controls, at least in part. Threats to the film makers' safety seemed to be one of the 'negotiation' ploys adopted by those with strong agendas in the town.

Despite the town/company extreme sensitivity to criticism, the film makers found a form (the telenovella) which they incorporated into the film to express symbolically something of the oppression at play in the town and its environs. The film was made for screening in the town so the symbolism would speak to the local audience. The suggestion from the panel that films such as 'Steel Town' are usefully screened [outside Brazil] with discussion to bring out the 'back story' seemed unanimously accepted.

Cinematographically, there were similarities between the various extracts of the film makers' work that were shown. Particularly striking were the extreme close-ups used, often with carefully chosen out of focus backgrounds (fingers plucking harp strings with an eye in the background for example) which I thought proved highly evocative. Something worth trying out.

Image © Mark Percival LRPS