Review: Cinematica: LOVE at La Mama Theatre

Review By Lucinda Naughton


La Mama Theatre has a rich history of presenting avant-garde and cutting-edge film. They are

pleased to present Cinematica, a quarterly event curated by Tessa Spooner to showcase short-film, obscure music videos, experimental film, the moving-image and avant-garde cinema.

Cinematica: LOVE edition consists of four experimental short films. It was wonderful to

experience film on La Mama’s stage; the intimate space worked well for showcasing and

supporting the experimental artworks. The four films explored different types of love in very

contrasting ways, reflecting the many facets, shapes and forms of love. The production an

exploration and reminder of just how vast love is. The open theme linked the four contrasting

shorts together.


The first film, Instruments for Chorus and Orchestra by Irene Proebsting and Barry Brown,

explores aspects of being female and ideas surrounding femininity, strength and beauty. It uses

low-end technology of Super 8 film and traditional cut-and-paste collage from magazine

advertisements and science journals, Gynaecological Endoscopy and Barbara Cartland’s Book of Love and Lovers. Expectations of beauty and femininity that are brought about through the media are subverted through the highly creative and beautifully challenging collages. There are some truly imaginative creations.


The second film, Katarsis by Baris Ulusoy, is a deeply personal short documentary. It

explores the more traumatic side of love, looking at a man who questions why his father’s stories on war were so much more present in his upbringing than the stories of his mother’s war in the home. The film questions why war gains so much more recognition than traumatising household wars. Through experimental techniques and voiceovers, the film looks at the very emotional and real mother-and-son portrait of love.


The third short, Magic Miles by Audrey Lam, follows two girls who go for a driving lesson. It

is a wonderful showcase of how beautiful the mundane can be. Through such an ordinary

experience like going for a drive, the film pinpoints beautiful and poignant moments that we can

forget to notice and appreciate – like tube man balloons flapping happily in the wind. It takes

you on a journey of the beautiful in the everyday. The cinematography and set design are

fantastic. The two contrasting characters of wistful and sunniness show how an outlook on life

can utterly change how it is experienced and discovered.


The final short, Phantom Islands by Rouzbeh Rashidi and produced by the Experimental Film

Society, is an experimental film that follows a couple adrift, floating through the beautiful

backdrop of Ireland’s green landscape. It explores romantic love and uses many visual

techniques to follow the couple in their everyday yet also surreal lives. The short challenges the

audience through its hypnotic tone, making us question what it means to love and what it means

to be in a relationship.


La Mama’s Cinematica: LOVE is a great way to showcase experimental film. The four shorts

creatively investigate new ways and approaches of producing responses and reactions through

the medium of film.

Image Supplied