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Michael macgarry, -
Sea of Ash
Fiction | hdv | color | 11'57'' | South Africa / Italy | 2015
LOGLINE
A poetic re-imagining of Death in Venice, featuring a West African immigrant to Italy who embarks on a journey from the Alpine mountains to the seaside and ultimately, on a doomed voyage home. SYNOPSIS
The form of the film is one of a fable, that grafts Thomas Mann’s 1925 novella, Death in Venice, to the contemporary issue of African refugees and immigrants in Italy. The film takes Mann’s book as a nexus point and expands upon a number of themes inherent in it. In Sea of Ash, Mann’s character Tadzio is an immigrant to Italy from West Africa (Senegal) who has survived the treacherous and often fatal journey by sea. While the lead character of the original – von Aschenbach – is embodied in the unseen filmmaker himself. The narrative of the film follows Tadzio on a short journey from the remarkable Brion Cemetery at San Vito in the mountains of Northern Italy to the coastal area of the Venetian lagoon. On Lido Island he visits the famous Hotel dés Bains as featured in Luchino Visconti’s 1971 film version of Death in Venice. The film concludes on the dés Baines beach, with Tadzio embarking on a doomed attempt to return home.
Michael MacGarry is a visual artist and filmmaker based in Johannesburg, South Africa. He holds a Masters Degree in Fine Art from the University of the Witwatersrand. MacGarry is a fellow of the Gordon Institute of Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA) at the University of Cape Town and recipient of the Standard Bank Young Artist Award 2010 (Visual Art). As a filmmaker he has written and directed five narrative short films, and five feature-length video artworks, and is a recipient of an El Ray Award - Excellence in Narrative Short Filmmaking, Barcelona Film Festival 2015 as well as a nominee for the Huysmans Young African Filmmaker Award 2015. As a visual artist Michael has exhibited internationally for more than ten years including TATE Modern, Guggenheim Bilbao, Kiasma Museum - and has published four monographs on his work.