Friday, November 05, 2010

Song for Chechnya (Je n'ai que trois minutes)



11'52", 4:3, PAL SD, 2007

After 'O barquinho' and 'Falling light', I wanted to work on "found footage" and I began three different pieces using existing media.
'Song for Chechnya' was the one I stayed with.

The image is taken from a documentary by Nino Kirtadze on Chechnya's occupation by the Russians. It was broadcasted by ARTE TV channel in 2004. At that time, I recorded the documentary and watched it again, moved by its humanism and courage in exposing something so very wrong.

Both analogue and digital techniques were used to degrade the image so that, together with the 1964 electronic music by Robert Ashley, it would illustrate the hell Chechen people live in under Russian imperialism and oppression. The year after the release of the documentary, Chechen radical separatists took the Moscow theatre and held hundreds of hostages for two-and-a-half days, demanding the Russian withdrawal from Chechnya. Needless to say with whom my sympathy lies when Imperialist countries oppress others to the point of despair and religious fanaticism. Unfortunately, one among many other cases.

Image distortion and editing went on and off through 2007. The finished version was lost; this is the surviving backup version (more than half the editing work missing).

Documentary:
- Il était une fois la Tchétchénie, Nino Kirtadze, 2001

Music:
- The Wolfman, Robert Ashley, 1964
- Rub with Ashes, Harold Budd, 1981