A collaboration between ICO (the Independent Cinema Office) and LUX has led to the commissioning of seven International artists to produce a series of short films which have been shown in Cannes in the past week alongside feature films like the thriller The Ghost and British satire Four Lions.
The 2006 series of shorts previously screened alongside films like Borat, Casino Royale, The Lives of Others, Pan's Labyrinth and This is England, reaching audiences of over 100,000 people in cinemas UK wide.
The seven artists commissioned for 2010, include Aurelien Froment (France), Amar Kanwar (India), Deimantas Narkevicius (Lithuania), Rosalind Nashashibi (UK), Keren Cytter (Israel), Akram Zaatari (Israel) and Catherine Sullivan and Farhad Sharmini (USA).
The shorts cover many diverse subjects. Froment's film is a visual and historical study of the jellyfish, Sullivan and Sharmini's film entitled 'The Last Days of British Honduras' has a theatrical feel to it and maybe of more specialised appeal, Nashashibi's film 'This quality' is the visual and humanistic study of a young girl and looks at the visuals of several foreign cars covered one assumes to preserve the paintwork, whilst Narkevicius's film plays out like a snowbound pop video and features a group called 'Without letters' who may have been influenced by Franz Ferdinand.
Of particular interest, is Akram Zaatari's 'Tomorrow, everything will be alright' which has a person sitting at a typewriter and the typewriter replying with a life of its own in what is effectively a reunion between two people who were in love 10 years ago, showing how sometimes love never dies, but also showing that what may have been wonderful in the past, may be harder to rekindle in the present.
Also on the theme of love is Amar Kanwar's impressive short 'A Love Story' Parts 1-4 which follows the break-up of a romance and encapsulates it well in music, words, pace and visual sequences. The line 'the suddenness of your departure is still hard to believe' is both recurring and memorably resonant.
Finally, Keren Cytter's film 'The Coat' also focuses on a relationship between a trio of actors, and stands out for its kaleidoscopic and provocative mix of visuals and numbers. The use of dialogue which may or may not have meaning and true bearing is Hal Hartleyesque in its intensity.
The films are likely to be seen around the country through June and into July. The Picturehouse in Cambs and the Glasgow FT are showing all seven films, Amar Kanwar's impressive film of romantic angst is showing by itself in support of features at the Bristol Watershed (now through to 27 May), Akram Zaatari's clever typewriter short is showing at the Sheffield Showroom late June and into July, and the films by the UK's Rosalind Nashashibi and Lithuania Deimantas Narkevicius are showing at the Spalding South Holland Arts Centre. Other regional arts centres may also have signed up at the time of going to press. The films are supported by the UK Arts Council of England, Skillset, the BFI, the UK Film Council Lottery Fund and other Media and EU Partners.
The films were specially launched at Tate Modern, London in April.