ben&ben: searching for utopia    We signed up the workshop organised by Tabakalera about Cinema, Perception and Extreme Situations. Garbiñe Ortega led the workshop and two names in contemporary experimental cinema (in fact, they have the same name, so let’s say two surnames), Rivers and Russell, showed us their work.

Rivers’s work is more organic, most cinema. He films everything in 16mm and reveals everything himself. His films, which seem quite documentary, are clearly guided by anthropology. Russell’s work, too, has an anthropological touch, but in an academic sense. Reasoning is especially important in Russell’s work. We’d say his manipulation of the format is more apparent. In River’s case it seems that instinct and luck are everything.

Let’s not talk about the eternal debate about experimental cinema. We think that’s a thing of the past. Any film which takes new paths and looks at things without fear, and any author who does this, is experimental. Experimenting is using the options which audio-visuals give us in freedom. All too often, however, that freedom is over intellectualised. We often wonder if conceptualising, collecting and explaining all the reasons and theoretical structures isn’t going against cinema’s special magic.

As well as both author’s individual work being interesting, these two well-considered authors have now started making films together. How can these two Bens direct a film together? This shared project and interesting reflections about the concept of
the ¨utopia¨ they make up lead us, amongst other things, to their film ¨A Spell To Ward Off The Darkness¨. The singular work they have just shown us brings together the shared lifestyle of a hippy commune, a walk movie and a row movie inside a forest, an acid western and Scandinavian black metal.