Tuesday 1 November at 8:15pm
The Elizabeth Picture Theatre
Drift, Helena Wittmann, 2017, 95m
Two women spend a weekend together at the North Sea. Walks on the beach, fish buns at a snack stand, mobile weather forecasts. Sky, horizon, water. One of them will soon return to her family in Argentina, whereas the other one will try to come a step closer to the ocean. She travels to the Caribbean and the unknown makes her vulnerable. Then, the land gets out of sight. On a sailing vessel she crosses the Atlantic Ocean. One wave follows the other, they never resemble. Thoughts go astray, time leaves the beaten track and the swell lulls to deep sleep. The sea takes over the narration.
From one perspective, Helena Wittmann’s important debut can be considered as a narrative film, minimalist, of slow cinema and patiently bound by the ocean. From another perspective, Wittmann’s Drift exists as a series of explorations of experimental film—it contains an overt homage to Michael Snow’s Wavelength,and, as Michael Sicinski observes it also, not least, interpolates the key environmental works La Région Centrale (Snow, again) and Fog Line (Larry Gottheim)—and testing how experimental traditions can be framed by narrative. Holding these two elements in balance is water in all its abstract physicality.
With thanks to Helena Wittmann and Fünferfilm