@ Beit Zatoun House, 612 Markham Street
A co-presentation with Toronto Palestine Film Festival,
Queers Against Israel Apartheid (QuAIA) and Beit Zatoun.
Join us for a post-screening discussion with Richard Fung of QuAIA and Mike Hoolboom.
Fresh from screenings in Vienna, Jihlava, Montreal and Paris, Pleasure Dome presents the Toronto premiere of Mike Hoolboom’s new feature length film Lacan Palestine
(70 min., 2012).
By adding his distinctive voice to the growing number of artists engaging with the subject of Palestine, Hoolboom skillfully crafts an essay film that collages newsreels, documentary interviews and Hollywood fabulations. As Zionist narratives of Palestine continue to be replayed in the corporate media, it is increasingly important to turn to counter-narratives of resistance. Hoolboom carefully complicates this record, replaying Palestine as the site of imperial projection and ghost protocols. Through an intricate analysis of the role of the father and the question of naming, Lacan Palestine offers an opulent collage that places the still-fledgling nation-state at the crossroads of psychoanalysis and permanent war.
Grand Prize Winner! at the 2012 Festival International Signes de Nuit
“The Grand Prize goes to Lacan Palestine for its immersion in a complex subject that arrives via a montage that is subtle, sensitive and strong. Its great visual richness emerges from impressive iconographic research. In spite of its diversity of images, this fluid work carries an insistent theme of personal history that makes us identify with a fate or destiny, creating a persistent, high wire hum.” (Festival International Signes de Nuit Grand Prize jury statement)
On Lacan Palestine:
“A mind boggling achievement by Canadian artist Mike Hoolboom, who has been called ‘the greatest found-footage master of the era.’ Skilfully assembled from existing film material, Hoolboom conjures visual allegories and cut-up counter-narratives around a notion of Palestine as “a land that is not a land.” Dizzying in its technical and conceptual density, Lacan Palestine is truly incomparable cinema.” (Nick Denes, London Palestine Film Festival)
“This beautiful experiment is as noble as it is absurd, the intractable struggle continues, and in the midst of this fine searching a single certitude emerges. We are really in front of something that we can call cinema. Its striking intelligence and sudden illuminations confront us with a singular and authentic cinema. In the acrobatic editing, in Hoolboom’s control from the beginning of the film to the end, there is something shining, urgent, burning. There is a nearly blinding dimension to this accumulation of fragments that impels the viewer to re-see the movie as soon as it is finished. To observe again its folding parts, to find the hidden meanings, to meditate again and again on its implications.” (Describing the Indescribable by Marcel Jean, 24 Images, no. 159, Oct/Nov 2012)
“The term essay film is sometimes used a bit too easily, but this really is one – and it isn’t an easy one. Skillfully cut and pasted from existing film material, the film provides a complex picture of Palestine. The land that is not a land, but does have inhabitants. An improbable place for love.
The foundation of Palestine has a long and difficult history, characterized by a continuing battle for the right to exist. In this cinematographic essay, entirely composed of found-footage material, the history of a land without land is sketched, with its painful relationship with its neighbour Israel. Epic scenes from features, iconic news footage of historic moments, the ever-changing map of Israel, video art by Velcrow Ripper, Elle Flanders and Dani Leventhal, but also very personal recordings of everyday survival, are linked together by the psychoanalytic reflections of filmmaker Mike Cartmell, based on his own painful personal history. From his background as an adopted child, he wonders when you become someone, and how society can emerge from individuals; he compares the functioning of a complex society with that of John Coltrane’s jazz combo, in which even five super-egos managed to achieve harmony. In Mike Hoolboom’s view of Palestine, love and violence exist side-by-side, as a matter of course.” (Gertjan Zuilhof, International Film Festival Rotterdam)
“Palestine is often described as a place that defies description, and for all the endless footage, a place that cannot be seen. Palestine lies between the imaginary and the real hence ‘imaging Palestine’ becomes perhaps one of the greatest cinematic and political challenges. Who better to take up this challenge than Toronto’s master experimental filmmaker Mike Hoolboom? The fragments that comprise Lacan Palestine are both the public and private languages that interpolate the symbolic sphere that constitute the history of Palestine and therefore the history of the Israel into being. As both a good analyst and a good filmmaker would know, originary myths uncover what lies at the heart of an ongoing conflict. And so Hoolboom takes us through these myths, dreams and canonical cinematic placeholders, presenting us Palestine in fragments—perhaps the only way to tell the story of what may be Palestine.
Hoolboom takes the name the father as a starting point, wherein the subject (here Palestine) comes into being through the law (Israel) and rifles through the deep psychoanalytic rift whose symptom is contemporary Palestine.” (Elle Flanders)
Mike Hoolboom is a Canadian artist working in film and video. He has made over fifty films and videos, though most have been withdrawn from circulation, approximately a dozen remain on view. His work has appeared in over four hundred festivals, garnering thirty awards. He has been granted the Tom Berner Award for community service and two lifetime achievement awards, the first from the city of Toronto, and the second from the Mediawave Festival in Hungary.
He has enjoyed retrospectives of his work at the Images Festival (Toronto), Visions du Reel (Switzerland), Cork International Festival (Ireland), Cinema de Balie (Amsterdam), Mediawave Festival (Hungary), Impakt Festival (Holland), Vila do Conde Festival (Portugal), Jihlava Documentary Festival (Czech Republic), Stuttgarter Filmwinter (Germany), Musée des Beaux-Arts de Caen (France), Sixpack Film (Vienna), the Buenos Aires International Festival (Argentina), and A Million Different Loves Festival in Poland.
He is a founding member of the Pleasure Dome screening collective and has worked as the artistic director of the Images Festival and as the experimental film co-ordinator at Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre.
Mike Hoolboom has published a pair of interview books with Canadian media artists, Practical Dreamers: Conversations with Media Artists (Coach House Press, 2008) and Inside the Pleasure Dome: Fringe Film in Canada (Coach House Press, 2001). He has edited or co-edited books on Frank Cole, Barbara Sternberg and Philip Hoffman, in addition to publishing electronic books on Deirdre Logue, Dani Leventhal, Al Razutis, Mike Cartmell, Steve Reinke, American Fringe Movies and the Documentary. In 1998 he authored Plague Years (YYZ Books) a tongue-in-chic autobiography. His first novel The Steve Machine was published by Coach House Press in the fall of 2008. He has published more than one hundred articles on fringe media which have appeared in magazines and catalogues around the world.
Since 2004 he has been working on Fringe Online (www.fringeonline.ca ), a web project which makes available the archives of 40 Canadian media artists. This ongoing project currently consists of hundreds of pages of transcripts, reviews, interviews and scripts, and remains the largest publishing project in the Canadian fringe media sector.