The revolutionaries in Mark Boulos’s video No Permanent Address appear so calm, you’d think the scenes were staged.
MARK BOULOS at Gallery TPW (56 Ossington), to May 26. 416-645-1066. Rating: NNNN
Europe-based American Mark Boulos, who moved from documentary cinema to the less linear form of gallery installations, has filmed such disparate groups as Nigerian anti-oil-company guerrillas and Pentecostals who speak in tongues.
No Permanent Address, a three-channel video projected cinematically on big screens in a darkened space, depicts jungle-dwelling members of the New People's Army, a Filipino Marxist revolutionary movement. Fighters tell their stories - one comrade discusses his homosexuality, cuing us that we're not in the 60s - conduct classes, meetings and military drills, sing The Internationale and clean weapons. Women lead and teach.
Evidently, Maoist insurgencies, with their anachronistic rhetoric, are still going strong in isolated places we don't hear much about. A pervasive calmness sometimes makes the events feel staged, but maybe we're just conditioned by action films to expect a lot of pow-pow-pow.
This puzzling, haunting work, without narrative or judgment, leaves us with a lot to think about.