Not in This Life!
Metaphysics and Cinema

02 April - 11 May 2016

Pera Film’s Not In this Life: Metaphysics and Cinema program, presented in the context of Pera Museum’s Giorgio de Chirico: The Enigma of the World explores the relationship between the cinematic and the philosophical, the fundamental nature of being and the world that encompasses it. The selected films bring together unusual stories exploring the nature of dreams, consciousness, existentialism, free will, our relations with others, and mainly the meaning of life. Though the program mostly underlines more recent independent productions, it also includes Richard Linklater’s 2001 made Waking Life, a film that embraces an idealistic search for the philosophical. Famed actor Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut work Lost River is a surreal tale about the housing market crash in the United States. Often mentioned alongside Ingmar Bergman, master director Roy Andersson’s A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence provides an insight into a chaotic world of the present, past and future. The One I Love on the other hand in Roger Ebert’s words is a romance and a mystery and a drama, with really only two characters in it, characters who are sketches approximating human beings, but played with sadness and humor by the two lead actors. Why Can't I Be Tarkovsky? embraces the main character as he stands between his dreams and the real, under tragicomic conditions. Inspired by Twilight Zone, Coherence is an engaging low-budget sci-fi without a script, that employs improvisation. A Norwegian film Blind entails a surreal atmosphere, sparse dialogue and humour, not just on seeing and blindness, but also on solitude and writing. A coming-of-age werewolf tale, When Animals Dream tells the story of a teenage girl whose sexual awakening unleashes something primal within, revealing a dark family secret. Both gripping and boundary pushing, Upstream Color is a hallucinatory cinematic experience that goes in search of truths that lie just beyond our reach. Piercing Brightness by visual artist Shezad Dawood, uses the popular genre of science fiction, as well as the dynamic hybrid of the narrative feature and the experimental. Artist Marcos Lutyens’s short film Time Lapsus visually demonstrated a set of mirrored narratives. Complementing this fiction selection, the documentary Lightning explores the nature of lightning through four seasons from all over the world.

Carlo Rovelli, a theoretical physicist elegantly points out that there is one issue in particular regarding ourselves which often leaves us perplexed: “what does it mean, our being free to make decisions, if our behavior does nothing but follow the predetermined laws of nature? Is there not perhaps a contradiction between our feeling of freedom and the rigor, as we now understand it, with which things operate in the world?” Not In this Life: Metaphysics and Cinema attests these queries through a broad scope of visually captivating stories.

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