projection 21

The Window, The Wolf, and The Pig
Films by Julius Ziz
7.10pm / 24 March 2011  
Irish Film Institute (6 Eustace Street, Temple Bar, Dublin)

Many Irish filmmakers have spent periods involved in the experimental community of New York and the strong Eastern European and Russian presence there has often found a cross-pollination with the Irish through venues like Anthology FIlm Archives. As a Lithuanian filmmaker who has lived and worked in New York, Julius Ziz continues this cross-pollination as he now lives in County Clare, while working around the world.

The three films featured in this programme are sequenced in such a way as to create a trilogy on several levels, or a viewing experience which brings one on an odyssey of character, style and form. In terms of the latter two, there is a progression from the non-narrative, through the narrative with experimental elements, to the very experimental in the found footage - mirrored by the shift from black and white and sepia film to strongly contrasted and colourful video to the unpredictability of found footage quality.
In terms of character, the protagonist of The Wolf can be felt lurking at the kitchen table in the childhood memories of The Window, from where a subliminal sense of the fairy tale develops with the images of the grandmother, the child and the woodcutter, followed by the emergence of The Wolf in the actual character of the second film. These three films also give a full stylistic and technical overview of the work of Julius Ziz.

The Window 
1989 / 18min / 35mm on Beta

Shot in Lithuania "The Window" is a portrait of the artist's grandmother. A still film, it builds on themes of childhood and old age, with a sense of transition between worlds, revolving around the symbolic window. There is also a sense of an ambiguity of distance in time enhanced by alternating between black and white and colour. "Ziz's verse is shadow, his lyric interior landscape. Nuanced and inflected by subtle changes in colour and sound, "The Window" is like a melancholic poem, both crystalline and ambiguous, about serenity and passage". ( Laurence Kardish Senior curator of The Film Department.The Museum of Modern Art New York ). The negatives of this film were destroyed when the Tbilisi Film Academy was bombed during the Georgian civil war. The only existing print is now in the collection of The Museum of Modern Art New York.

The Wolf 

2008 / 20min / Video on Beta 

Following a film with themes of childhood and transitions to the adult world, 'The Wolf', with its protagonist on the run, unfolds as an interesting parallel for mid-life projection back to childhood. "Julius Ziz's disturbing ... short film balances between beauty and menace. It suggests that there may be grace in being threatened, tracked and hunted: it posits evil in the power of the pursuer and shows how that power infects innocence. Shot in bright sun and light-dappled forests,"The Wolf", speaks of the horror of mankind in the ravishing face of nature. It is a remarkable work about how society defines itself in terms of whom it excludes, a fearful portrait of tribalism". ( Laurence Kardish MoMA New York ). The simple shooting style and non-narrative structure of The Window is also thrown into relief by the more elaborate and stylized camera work of The Wolf.

And Pig Was Born ( Et Le Cochon Fut Ne ) 2000 / 23min / 16mm

Moving from The Wolf to found footage in 'And Pig Was Born' is a striking transition which should create a sense of pushing the audience into subconscious territory - an interesting progression after the literal death of The Wolf, which highlights cycles of birth and re-birth as a subtext in The Pig. "A tour-de-force montage film with the spirit of Vigo and Bunuel hovering over it. Made before Godard's "Origins of the 21st.Century", Ziz's film provokes interesting comparisons. Both deal with images of the 20th century. But while Godard's film could be described as a poster, Ziz's film is a poem. I don't have to tell you which one I prefer..." ( Jonas Mekas ). Made for the Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris exposition VIOLA, from "found" footage taken from hundreds of unfinished films stored in Anthology Film Archives' basement.

Julius Ziz
Julius Ziz was born in Lithuania in 1970. He studied film at the Tbilisi Film Academy Georgia from 1988 to 1992. He has works in the International Collections; Museum of Modern Art, New York / 'My Motherland', Anthology Film Archives / Cinemateque Francaise, Paris / The Oesterreichiscies Film Museum, Vienna / Marcel Duchamp Estate, France.
He now lives in County Clare, Ireland, and works internationally.

This programme was curated by Alan Lambert.