PHI Centre’s Films4Peace series provides 17 more ways to give peace a chance
If you had to visually interpret the concept of peace, what would it look like? A ‘60s hippie clad in tie-dye apparel doing the token "V" hand sign? A flock of doves soaring ever so gracefully above the trees? John and Yoko’s PR-orchestrated slumber party at the Queen Elizabeth? There are as many answers to the question as there are creative minds wrestling with the very idea.
For a second straight year, Puma and curator Mark Coetzee put 21 international filmmakers to the challenge of creating 30-to-90-seconds long pieces for its annual PUMA.peace short film commission. The idea? To celebrate and draw further attention to September 21, also known as World Peace Day – “an international United Nations day of ceasefire, and a day for individuals, organizations and countries to demonstrate acts of peace”.
Besides launching all 17 films this morning on the dedicated films4peace.com website, live screenings are being organized around the world at major museums such as London’s Design Museum, in public urban spaces such as the City of Barcelona, in educational institutions and youth leadership conferences. In Montreal, the PHI Centre is hosting two full days of free screenings.
As is to be expected, the films differ greatly in form and in their approaches to tackling such a loaded concept. Perusing the films online, the crop of experimental animations feels particularly strong, especially the following two pieces:
Bill Porter's Peace Starts With Me (UK)
Porter interestingly chooses to illustrate peace via a grueling, heated boxing match -- a sport that's often deemed overwhelmingly violent "despite its ability to promote confidence and discipline in young people in places where it's needed," says Porter. The short caps off as the two fighters grapple in a clinch, depicted here in refreshingly subversive fashion as a moment of peace.
Max Hattler's RE:AX (Germany)
Hattler's atmospheric RE:AX is both unapologetically ominous and imbued with optimism. The German experimental filmmaker explores the notions of feedback and action/reaction with a series of geometrical patterns that face off in a nondescript setting. When they clash, their actions lead to heightened tension, whereas when they coexist peacefully, it creates a harmonious environment. A powerfully political film that requires no words to plead its case.