Miragem promises a raft of exciting cinematic experiences – Cineuropa

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– Unspooling on the island of Pico in the Azores, the gathering boasts a programme consisting of screenings and creative workshops for its third edition
Miragem – Kinematic Arts in the Landscape, based on Pico in the Azores, unspools from today until 10 September, presenting films directed by Helena Girón and Samuel M Delgado, Pierre-Marie Goulet, Sílvia das Fadas, Cecília Vicuña, Denilson Baniwa, Gunvor Nelson, Malena Szlam, Manon de Boer, Leon Hirszman, Mani Kaul, Lis Rhodes, and Liliane Lijn.
Just thinking about Pico brings to mind the way Raul Brandão described it in his book The Unknown Islands: immensely dark, with an uncannily attractive colour palette – a place that is more than an island, like a statue raised to the sky, shaped by fire. That was the book that Rita Morais, director of Miragem, was reading when she first decided to come to the island: “I feel like, at the time, it matched my state of mind. When I got here for the first time, I ended up staying. For a while. Then I kept coming back. I immediately felt at home, mainly due to the human landscape and the communities that welcomed me.” Miragem was born there, in this place that some – including Morais – could call home, naturally also emerging from “a long-standing wish to create something connected with the moving image”.
Each year, Miragem screens films in different spots scattered all over the island. Every day has a different location and a different programme. Everything is thought out bearing in mind the landscape: that’s how the programme comes to life. Either “the location is determined according to the films we want to screen, or the location itself demands certain films that we end up selecting”. This mindful curatorial side of Miragem also resonates with the more carefree approach to the duration of each screening. At the end of the day, the programme “is an encounter triggered by the moving images, the sounds, the landscape. We feel quite free in that sense. We just want to give the films the space they need and delve into the dialogue that we wish to create between them”.
In fact, for this third edition, one can very much sense this dialogue. Every screening has a theme: from the pages of history, through the (fluid and rigid) textures of volcanic eruptions, to labour rights. But the main, overarching theme that defines this year’s programme is sound and music, and this was not by chance: “For us, it was evident that the films needed to enter the island by means of something that was already well known here. In a place where you can’t seem to find that many cultural activities, you do have plenty of orchestras and music schools, and a lot of kids play an instrument.”
Not only does this theme apply to the overall selection of films, but it also defines the basis for the two creative workshops. One is named “All the Earth and Body Cells Vibrate”, with filmmakers Helena Girón and Samuel M Delgado. In it, the participants will learn more about 16 mm film projection, as well as how to make field recordings. They will collectively create a score from sounds they have recorded themselves on the island, which will be combined with film footage captured by Girón and Delgado during the eruptions of the volcano in La Palma in 2021. The resulting work, forging a clear connection between sound and film, but also between the Canary and the Azorean Islands, will be presented live to the audience.
The Cancioneiro Açoriano (Azorean Songbook) will also be highlighted in the “To Sculpt the Echo” workshop with musician and composer Polido. In partnership with the Artistic Training Center of the Municipality of Madalena, the Municipal School of Music of Lajes and the Philharmonic Societies of Pico Island, the participants will be able to familiarise themselves with the Cancioneiro through an experimental music composition scheme. The result of this workshop will be presented live, twice, one of those times following a screening of Pierre-Marie Goulet’s Polifonias – Paci é saluta, Michel Giacometti.
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