Double Shadows 3: People Who Transport Films

Carried by Films

A film is not completed just in being made. Films are only first given life in the process of being circulated, screened, and viewed by audiences. This requires time, money, and the efforts of people, and because such efforts are involved, strategies and solutions are worked out, the hopes and desires of various people come together, and films are changed into something other than what they were before. Amid the connections that form between everyone in any way involved in a film, the acts of transporting and being transported are essential.

Double Shadows is a special program dedicated to documentary films that place a focus on film history and cinema itself. This year’s program continues the project of prior programs organized for YIDFF 2015 and YIDFF 2019, turning to the theme of transporting with a lineup of films portraying dramas of encounter between ourselves and cinema, at times transporting us beyond space and time.

Transporting entails both physical movement and also the process of being moved emotionally. Making, watching, and talking about films bring both joy and sadness. Those behind the camera can only make films from the reality of life in the here and now, questioning how to confront their own small worlds and the realities that surround them, as well as their own pasts and futures. Their raw passion infects us through film (as in A Bunch of Amateurs). As an audience, we open our eyes and ears to the existence of others and reaffirm our connections to the world in letting our imaginations wander into unfamiliar territory. Though alone with our thoughts, we touch the creative process of a film through the collective experience of watching it with strangers. What is a film festival but a space that coalesces such diverse kinds of raw experiences coming and going on the screen (Young Cinema)?

The era of digital media and streaming services today is no different from the time when physical film had to be transported and people summoned into theaters in the sense that films in themselves still do not possess the means to reach us on their own. An extra human something beyond the original film enters in the process of circulating and receiving films. Given that films are not only transported but also talked about and handed down, they are based on the existence of others as an essential precondition. Posters, flyers, lobby cards and other promotional materials seek to explain films to us, but they never reveal everything there is to know. Such kinds of ornamentation give rise to anticipation and disappointment, but also to mysteries of film history (as in The Blueprint of a Pleasure Machine). And while the figure of the film star does originate in performances on the screen, it also organizes spectator desire at points beyond the boundaries of any given film (Eastwood). On the other hand, the “WARNING” and “CAUTION” messages that greet us before the start of films work to suppress human emotion wherever it wells up (as in The Film You Are About to See).

Transported and stacked films, videotapes and DVDs are not mere material objects. The passions of the people connected to them, the people who could only have been connected to them, reside within them (as in Kim’s Video). An archive of memory—didn’t we hear faint voices from a distant land within that mountain? Didn’t we feel a forgotten life in the swaying of the trees and the wind caressing the skin? (Silent Witnesses, Zinzindurrunkarratz). This program entitled Double Shadows seeks to pursue the respective shadows cast by films and film history, as well as the shadows that overlap between them, and in doing so to fix our attention on the diverse spectrum of light radiating from people who somewhere found themselves captivated by images. We transport films, and they do so to us—thus begins our journey into history.

Tsuchida Tamaki
Program Coordinator