Philippe Grandrieux is one of that rare breed of directors who consistently strive for the impossible. One of the few others is called Masao Adachi, and with him in front of the camera, Grandrieux redefines the possibilities of the portrait film. Adachi decided to become a filmmaker after reading André Breton's surrealist manifesto. But if the struggle for freedom is the defining project of surrealism, the 71-year-old Japanese avant-garde director is preoccupied just as much by the struggle itself as he is by the strenuously won freedom. Adachi is one of the most radically political, uncompromising and headstrong filmmakers of his generation. But even if one has not already had the chance to see one of his rarely screened films, there are nonetheless all sorts of reasons for spending an evening in his company. Grandrieux, who was an Artist in Focus at CPH:DOX 2009, has produced a congenial portrait which is more about making radical choices, and about thinking in and not least acting through images. Grandrieux's typically pitch-black and atmospheric pictorial universe transforms the cinema into a psychological 'dark room' that overcomes the limitations of the medium to expand the spectator's range of experience. Revolution is also an image. The question is, how one turns that image into reality. (Masao Adachi)
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