This week on MUBI we’ve launched another one of our collaborations with stellar film label INDEX, to bring you some of the best Austrian experimental cinema:
Austrian avant-garde master Kurt Kren’s most famous films document the infamous art happenings of Viennese Actionists like Otto Mühl in the 1960s. Through innovative rapid in-camera editing Kren transformed them into violent, yet lyrical visual poems of body transformation at the limits of perception.
The other big recommendation this week, also playing everywhere, is one of the big gems from the 2011 International Film Festival Rotterdam, where it played in the Bright Futures section: Yulene Olaizola’s Artificial Paradises.
The director of the award-winning documentary Shakespeare and Victor Hugo’s Intimacies makes an impressive feature debut with an atmospheric narrative about a young woman addicted to heroin who tries to break the habit in a week on the Mexican Gulf Coast and makes contact there with a mysterious neighbour.
Luisa—25 and addicted to ‘chiva’ (heroin)—retires to a hotel by the sea near Veracruz on the Gulf of Mexico. During her stay—for more than a week—she meets the old, mysterious, heavy-duty cannabis user Salomon, in whom she thinks she recognises a fellow soul. A bond develops between the two of them. Artificial Paradises, named after an anthology by the French poet Baudelaire from 1860, is a melodrama imbued with drugs and drink. Not much is explained: dialogues are scarce (although there is a bit of singing). The young Mexican director Yulene Olaizola, who had previously made short films and documentaries, tells her story with very atmospheric images. The photography is beautiful, although the landscape is not the Veracruz from holiday folders. —IFFR