TORONTO, CANADA.- The Images Festival, Canada's largest annual event devoted to independent and experimental film, video, and media installation announces its 2005 Opening Night Gala for its 18th annual edition, April 7 through April 16, 2005 in Toronto.
On Thursday, April 7 at 8pm at the Bloor Cinema (506 Bloor St. W.), Images presents the Toronto premiere of Chain, U.S. indie veteran Jem Cohen's first dramatic feature, starring Miho Nikaido and featuring music by Godspeed You! Black Emperor in a film The Village Voice praised for its "dreamlike power and fierce political intelligence".
Noted for his beautiful super 8 shorts (Lost Book Found, Amber City) and his two documentaries on iconic and iconoclastic musicians (Benjamin Smoke, Instrument), Cohen's first narrative stays close to his deep interest in the relationship of people to their surroundings. A Japanese businesswoman (played by Hal Hartley regular Miho Nikaido) is traveling incessantly, researching amusement parks for her Tokyo-based company. Alienated by the loneliness of the road and the decreasing contact from her employers, she withdraws more and more into her hotel rooms. Meanwhile, a Maryland drifter (newcomer Mira Billotte) travels around, looking for odd mall jobs and cheap places to stay. A recent runaway, she is as alone in her own country as Tamiko is in her travels. Strangely kin, but never meeting, these two women are adrift in a new type of disorienting "floating world", the anonymous labyrinth of the global marketplace.
With his resonant photography, Cohen deftly charts the process of cultural standardization. The backbone of the film is an amazing conceit: the anonymous shopping mall setting was shot over six years in over ten different states and eight different countries. Saratoga Springs bleeds into Warsaw, into Berlin, into Vancouver, into Dallas, into Melbourne? a "superlandscape" of shopping malls that represents the charged sameness and emptiness of our corporate public spaces.
"Cohen is concerned with the things that hold us together and keep us apart in the modern world. Chain is impressive not only for the way it integrates documentary into fiction but also for the more difficult task of using fiction to articulate things seen by a documentarian's eye." - Alice Lovejoy, Film Comment
Please join The Images Festival for the Opening Night Gala Party at The Mod Club, 722 College St. Starting at 10:00 pm. Free admission. On the way from the theatre to the Mod Club, stop at 323 Palmerston Blvd. for the opening reception of Glow House #3, public installation by Kelly Mark presented by The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery in conjunction with Images.
From hand-tinted celluloid to digital video, live performance to interactive software, the Images Festival celebrates this year with an extraordinary line-up of independent and experimental images from Canada and around the globe. More than 100 films and videos including twelve world, thirty-four Canadian and twenty-five Toronto premieres, 32 media art installations, two web-based exhibitions, and three live audiovisual performances make Images the most highly anticipated media arts festival in Canada.