12-12-2011 mag 6 /


The impact of daily routines


Utrecht's Impakt Festival brought the glamour of everyday life to the big screen. - What is the glamour of everyday life? Is it the laziness of a summer afternoon or the loneliness of wintertime? For over one our, seven short films depicted a small portion of multiple daily routines: different people in different places, all of them living a common life. However, when those lives come to the voyeuristic gaze of an inquiring audience, each story has its own glamour and causes its own impact.


The third screening session of the Impakt Festival was dedicated to the "Glamour of Everyday Life”. The cosy environment of the 't Hoogt Filmtheater was a perfect choice for hosting a short film session in a Friday night. Despite the small audience, reactions were visible. Disgust, hope, sadness expressed by quiet attentive faces. There was always possible to see the impact: sometimes a sign of identification with the life on the screen, sometimes a question mark left by a complex story.

Among the movies displayed, three were of special attention. "Family" (Yuri A, R Mond - Switzerland) was constructed over 30 year of monthly self-portraits. The passport photos were creatively animated, resulting in absorbing movie about a small family.  While Yuri and Mond's family perfectly fitted in the portrait, it was not the case for another family. Sarah Carlier's "Family Portrait" (Romania) shot for over 2 minutes the assembling of a big Romanian family for a wedding picture. Charlier's family, however, was so big that the screen was not big enough to accommodate everyone. The last movie about families was "Mandarijn" (Sarah Bijlsma - The Netherlands), a beautiful fiction about two men in the waiting of their women: one a daughter, and the other a wife. Mandarijn was so lovely narrated that most of the audience showed a hint of deception when Bijlsma confirmed that the two histories were merely fiction,  leaving everyone with greater expectations. (Photo: Sara Carlier - Family Portrait).

Besides "Family", "Family Portrait", and "Mandarijn", the session included other titles: the animation "Mad Dogs and The Englishmen" (Daniel Chester - UK); "Advent" (Petr Hatle - Czech Republic); "S.T.T.L." (Elisabeth Smolarz - USA); "My Voice Would Reach You" (Meiro Koizumi - Japan); and "All Flowers in Time" (Jonathan Caouette - USA). In those titles, loneliness, death and despair were portrayed with the care and sensibility that trasnformed ordinary life into affective art.

At the end of the session, we had a moment of interaction between audience and artists. Some of the filmmakers were there to cause another impact, and to be impacted by the audience.  Yuri, Carlier and Bijlsma talked about their production experiences and their participation in the Impakt Festival.  The repective audience engaged with them, and concluding the session with feelings of enjoyment and approval. The glamour of everyday life brought color, emotion and energy for a cold Friday nigth:  it left certainly a very positive impact.

In the broader context of Utrecht's Impakt Festival, the Glamour of Everyday Life revealed that knowing every detail of intimate lives might sometimes be unbearable, and other times it might be very comforting.

Sara Bijlsma - Mandarijn
Sarah Carlier - Family Portrait
 Yuri A, R Mond - Family