(L’impossible—Pages arrachées, Sylvain George, France 2009, 90 min., Blu-ray, French w/subtitles)
Here and Elsewhere. North American Premiere! Told in five chapters, with titles borrowed from the likes of Fyodor Dostoevsky, Arthur Rimbaud, and Walter Benjamin, Sylvain George’s The Impossible is a tour de force of political filmmaking. The film begins in the port town of Calais, where scores of African and Middle Eastern refugees make nightly bids to cross the English Channel into Britain. Through George’s grainy, often bleached-out or red-tinged Super 8 images, Calais appears almost as an alien planet. In this desolate, uninviting “non-place,” we see the harsh living conditions of the asylum seekers, for whom hope is not an idea but a place (an “elsewhere”). George’s work has gained a reputation in Europe as formally stunning and fiercely intellectual, but is still seldom seen by audiences across the Atlantic.
The first half hour of the film will be accompanied by a live performance by Rochester-based electronic musician Martin Freeman.