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Ben rivers
There is a Happy Land Further Awaay
Film expérimental, Documentary | 16mm | couleur et n&b | 20'0'' | Royaume-Uni | 2015
THERE IS A HAPPY LAND FURTHER AWAAY (20 mins, S16, col/b+w, 2015) There Is A Happy Land Further Awaay (2015), captures the landscapes of the remote volcanic Republic of Vanuatu archipelago, before they were devastated by Cyclone Pam in early 2015, the footage becoming a ghostly document of an ecosystem now irrevocably altered. A hesitant female voice reads a poem by Henri Michaux, recounting a life lived in a distant land, full of faltering and mistakes. Island imagery of active volcanoes, underwater WW2 debris, children playing, and wrecked boats transform into intangible digital recollections of the island, made on the opposite side of the world. Images of the eroded land merge with eroding film, a lone figure on a boat drifts at sea.
Ben Rivers (born in 1972) is an artist and experimental filmmaker based in London. His work has been shown in many film festivals and galleries around the world and has won numerous awards. His work ranges from themes about exploring unknown wilderness territories to candid and intimate portrayals of real-life subjects. Rivers`s practice as a filmmaker treads a line between documentary and fiction. Often following and filming people who have in some way separated themselves from society, the raw film footage provides Rivers with a starting point for creating oblique narratives imagining alternative existences in marginal worlds. Rivers uses near-antique cameras and hand develops the 16 mm film, which shows the evidence of the elements it has been exposed to – the materiality of this medium forming part of the narrative.