Images Festival at Innis Town Hall (2 Sussex) and other venues, from today (Thursday, April 15) through April 24. Single tickets $8, stu/srs $5, book of five $35, festival pass $75, srs $50. 416-971-6236, www.imagesfestival.com Rating: NNNNN
The excellent Images Festival is back with over 50 events, installations, new media works and screenings, none of them concerned with raking it in at the box office or selling you Pepsi. One of the fun things about Images is the way the shorts programs are curated. Competition programs like Luminous Whispers (April 23, 7 pm, Innis) and The Broken Mirror (April 19, 9:15 pm, Innis) hang together like good mix tapes, juxtaposing disparate films to create deliciously unsettled moods.
Worth leaving your apartment for: the transition, in Trace Elements (April 17, 7 pm, Innis), from Christina Zeidler 's Machine Guts (see interview, this page) to Rosie Pedlow 's charmingly analytical chemistry-textbook animation, Tulips At Dawn , to the animated dissection of creepy old medical paraphernalia in The Phantom Museum , by the Brothers Quay . And keep an eye out for Inger Lise Hansen 's beautiful stop-motion ice floes and eroding cliffs in Adrift (A Fine Balance, April 21, 7 pm, Innis).
On the Canadian front, video artist Leslie Peters enters the spotlight with On The Threshold (April 16, 7 pm, Innis), a selective retrospective of her feeling-infused landscapes, including Becoming , an installation at 401 Richmond West.
The 17th annual Images fest starts strong with the opening-night gala, Julie Talen 's Pretend (April 15, 8 pm, Bloor Cinema). It plays with the possibilities of digital video, using split screens and frames-within-frames to tell the story of a dissolving marriage and a disappearing child. In the wrong hands, all that technique could be gimmicky and distracting, but Talen controls the narrative flow that ties the film's shattered perspectives together and infuses them with a rich, immersive subjectivity.
It's preceded by Light Is Calling , in which Bill Morrison employs violins and some kind of alchemy to transform degraded footage from a 1920s melodrama into the pure yearning of a celluloid Paolo and Francesca losing each other in swirls of decaying silver nitrate.
Rabble-rousers of all stripes officially need to see and debate Paul Poet 's stimulating Ausländer Raus! (April 22, 7 pm, Innis), which screens as part of the Structure & Drift series on urban space. It documents German "shock filmmaker" Christoph Schlingenseif's viciously effective parody of both reality TV and Austrian immigration policy: he erects "container" housing for a group of refugee claimants in a square in Vienna, then invites the public to vote them out of the country Survivor-style. The public debate that ensues is both vigorous and thought-provoking. Screens with Aleesa Cohene 's All Right , a short about immigration policy right here in Canada.
John Oswald 's got some buzz, especially after being named Governor General's Award visual arts laureate. He brings chronophotics: census Toronto: standstillness (April 18, 9:15 pm, Innis), a feature-length collage of people fading slowly in and out of existence as they stand still in a crowd.