In this week’s shared album we propose a look at Odense through the lens of cinematic works which don’t have Odense as a starting point. Counterproductive, you might say! But hear us out! Now in the fourth week of lockdown, you’ve probably felt, like us, that the city slowly slips away. The memories we’ve made in these past weeks are hardly located anywhere in the city, and the urban space itself could actually be any other space, and some of us would hardly notice. Life, work, leisure, love – they all seem to happen independently from the city; in digital spaces, domestic spaces, fantastic places, imaginary scenarios, and so on. Are we residents of Odense or residents of … ourselves? If you also feel that your body has become its own zip code, we invite you to reconnect with a now seemingly dormant city; watch these four films, all available to stream on Filmstriben, and use them as premises for thoughts, feelings, real and imaginary scenarios of Odense. Whether it’s wandering the empty streets, following the potential routes of fictional characters, pondering Odense’s potential for shelter in a post-apocalyptic world, seeing architecture for what it is and most importantly what it is not, or embracing nostalgia in this cold and dark period, allow these films to be not an escape from, but a return to Odense. Enjoy! Christoffer & Elena Christoffer Henneberg

Tue 26
1/25/2021 12:00:00 AM 1/31/2021 40 Permanent Vacation 1980 | USA | Dir. Jim Jarmusch | 71 min Filmstriben false DD-MM-YYYY

Permanent Vacation 1980 | USA | Dir. Jim Jarmusch | 71 min


Permanent Vacation
Movie | Kl. 00:00 | Price: 0 Kr. | Written by: Christoffer Henneberg | Translated by: Christoffer Henneberg

Organizer: Filmstriben

I have seen an almost unreasonable number of films during this first month of the year. While my favourite arform, music, has lost some its meaning as it can no longer be performed or enjoyed with others, I have increasingly turned to films, but there was also a lot I needed to catch up on in that field.

When you indulge in so many films, it can be difficult to separate each one from the other, but one of them that really stood out was American independent filmmaker Jim Jarmuschs first feature-lenght Permanent Vacation (1980). It’s an apprentice work, shot on 16 mm camera, and one that is very much devoted to a specific and long gone place and time in history, but one which nevertheless seems to speak directly to our current pandemic era.

The film chronicles two days in the life of a young jazz hipster named Aloysious Christopher Parker or just Allie. He is the first of those existential misfits that we have later come to associate with Jarmusch's work and is played by non-actor Chris Parker who probably wasn’t that different from his character in the film.

For the most part of the film Allie wanders aimlessly around in the decaying Manhattan of the late seventies, more specifically the Lower East Side, where punk was in vogue at downtown clubs like CBGB and American counterculture experienced it’s last glorious moment. Permanent Vacation is probably the best time capsule of that particular era ever committed to celluloid and is worth seeking out for that reason alone.

However, Allie is not a part of the downtown scene of the day. He is more like a walking anachronism with his bebop kid look; a hobo in his time and in life in general. The backstreets he roams are desolate, filled with rubble and suggestive of a warzone (there are vague references to bombnings on American soil during the film).

Allie is like a ghost in a cultural limbo, and that is a feeling I can identify with when I occasionally put a film on pause and walk out in the desolate streets of the lockdown. The feeling of being a tourist in one's own town also strikes me as relevant for this day and age, as the center of Odense doesn’t really look like itself these days. It’s as if the lockdown has obliterated the differences between individual cities, they have all become non-places and we are apoleis as the ancient Greeks would have called it, citizens of no city.

I decide to walk into town as i I try to mimic Allie’s akward movements and tune into his wandering state of mind. It's surprisingly easy to do: Maybe Allie's searching aimlessness is not that far from my own usual way of life.

I walk along Sdr. Boulevard which is even more devoid of life than usual on this Saturday afternoon. The pulse of a city can get so low that the city and it's sense of community can seem to disappear. For the sake of the purpose I allow myself to indulge in my loneliness and stare alienated into the lit living rooms in the small townhouses I pass. Have the people living found what they were looking for? Maybe. Or maybe is wasn't what they were looking after all. They don't look too enthusiastic but then again it's the end of January during an pandemic.

Where would Allie go if he was in Odense on a Saturday like this? He would probably head towards Momentum, so I go there. On the door hangs a poster for a cancelled play called ZERO, and I can’t help laughing because that would definitely appeal to Allie’s nihilistic ethos.  If Momentum had been open and there was some jazz going on, he would have gone in, tried to chat akwardly with some random people in the bar and maybe do some goofy dance moves.

This brings me forward to an unforgettable key scene in the film, where the nearly comatose protagonist suddenly jumps up and performs a show-stopping spasmodic dance to a spaced-out solo from alto sax legend Earl Bostic. It is a genuinely moving moment because it signifies an intense but brief escape from an uninhabitable environment and a hopeless future. At the same time it expresses a vital and uninhibited physicality, that is not only lacking in rest of the film, but also in our locked down society, that for so long now have hindered that kind of ecstatic affirmation of life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link to the event



Close

Tue 26
1/25/2021 12:00:00 AM 1/31/2021 40 Mid90s 2018 | USA | Dir. Jonah Hill | 85 min Filmstriben false DD-MM-YYYY

Mid90s 2018 | USA | Dir. Jonah Hill | 85 min


Mid90s
Movie | Kl. 00:00 | Price: 0 Kr. | Written by: Christoffer Henneberg

Organizer: Filmstriben

The summer of 1995 was magical. I became part of the skating community around the ramp at Nonnebakken and received a more street-level form of education during the holidays than the one they practiced at Hunderupskolen. Here, young people from all over the city came to skate, drink, smoke and exchange CDs with the Parental Advisory sticker (a quality stamp at the time), which circulated diligently in our backpacks together with Vestfyns beers from the Absalon Kiosk. The fact that neither the ramp nor the kiosk exists today only feeds the nostalgia.

It was during that summer that I went through several of the rites of passage of a youngster; such as the first drinking bout, the first puff of tobacco, French kissing and other pubertal experiences a la those presented in the controversial skater film “Kids” released that year.

Musically, many of us cultivated that potent, but later so ugly fusion of rap and metal we knew from names like Rage Against The Machine, Downset and the soundtrack to the movie Judgment Night, so defining for that period, which I bought in Progress Records. The store was then housed at the intersection of Vindegade and Pantheonsgade (where the second-hand shop is now located) and was a true temple of rap and metal and everything in between.

The city opened up in general and was ready to be explored on wheels. In addition to the ramp at Nonnebakken, the fountain at Fisketorvet was a hotspot for skaters. Today that area is a permanent building site; back in the day, it was a diffuse no man's land where the sound of boards hitting asphalt mingled with the noise of Thomas B. Thrige Gade and its dream of gathering post-war car transportation in an efficient flow. The latter, however, we did not think so much about at the time. In our youthful carefreeness, we were happy to just have a place we could be.

In light of these flashbacks, it seems like a whimsical but happy coincidence that actor Jonah Hill's debut as a director, the skateboard drama “Mid90s”, takes place in the summer of 1995, when 13-year-old Stevie (the same age as I was then) reviews several of the same rituals I had that summer.

It is a convincing debut, insofar as it has two ambitions, both fulfilled. The first is to tell a classic coming-of-age story about a teenager's liberation from the home's narrow confines and gradual admission into a boy's group of older skaters. The group consists of leader Ray, who is the most talented skater and has the opportunity to have a professional career; his best friend Fuckshit (!), who is a Black guy and also a solid skater, but prefers to go through life in party mode; Fourth Grade, a goofy, white guy who films all events (the director's alter ego?); and Ruben, a Mexican boy only slightly older than Stevie and who therefore becomes jealous of the main character when the rival is finally accepted by Ray and Fuckshit, while he himself goes down in status.

The film’s second ambition is retrospective, as it seeks to reconstruct a time-specific backdrop in which this timeless drama can unfold: the skating scene in the Los Angeles suburb of Palms in the mid-nineties. Thus, it is full of time markers like cassette tape pile and big brother Bill Clinton horror mask, while a cameo from Harmony Korine, who wrote the script for the aforementioned “Kids,” completes the impression of a careful work of reconstruction. To some it may seem a bit forced, but if you, like this writer, remember that time lovingly, it is hard not to get a nostalgic kick out of it.

Nothing, as you know, serves a nostalgic errand better than music and “Mid90s” is of course also full of the sound of the time. An original score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross is used, but the film also offers happy reunions  with Nirvana, Pixies, Morrissey, as well as hip hop from that time, including the Wu-Tang Clan.

 

Finally, it must be said that the Mid90s is shot with a 16 mm camera, which gives a suitably frayed edge and indie quality to this raw and realistic story of the asphalt, which both as a period piece and portrait of a group of boys' dynamics is working really well.

 

Mid90s is available on Filmstriben here: https://fjernleje.filmstriben.dk/film/9000005240/mid90s 

Link to the event



Close

Tue 26
1/25/2021 10:00:00 AM 1/31/2021 10:00 40 Light of My Life 2019 | USA | Dir. Casey Affleck | 115 min. Filmstriben false DD-MM-YYYY

Light of My Life 2019 | USA | Dir. Casey Affleck | 115 min.


Light of My Life
Movie | Kl. 10:00 - 10:00 | Price: 0 Kr. | This week’s guest recommendation is wirtten by: Elena Stanciu

Organizer: Filmstriben

In his book Why We Watch Films the late Romanian film critic Alex Leo Serban laments the over-consumption of Hollywood factory-made movies, to the detriment of Cinema (capital C). He identifies the “premise of any “successful” cinematic product to be a combination of empathy and entertainment.” This, the critic argues, renders us (the 'easy' consumers) incapable to engage significantly with works that don’t follow this recipe (Bergman, Antonioni, or Godard). In choosing to recommend this film, I realise I’ve fallen into this very trap (and now make the conscious choice to dwell in it): I looked for themes and stories that are most likely to be recognised, to create a bond of empathy with you, the viewer, and which would surely keep you entertained. 

Light of My Life is a safe bet, in this regard. The film tells the story of a father and daughter surviving a dangerous world, after a pandemic has wiped out most of the female population. You’ll recognise tropes from The Road – the grim imminence of danger coming from fellow humans, as the world is now a dog-eat-dog place; running away as the primal mode of existence; finding shelter as the utmost priority; hope and love as quintessential values that keep the light on and the “fire inside” burning. Unlike The Road, Light of My Life tells a warmer story, with better-fed characters in a world not quite as ruined.

Films in this dystopian genre have been preparing us for decades now, with various post-apocalyptic scenarios. Fortunately, we haven’t had the chance to put this preparation to use. Our current pandemic is not quite as ruinous either, and, in the grand scheme of things, we haven’t lost that much yet. The world still stands; our city is not a deserted jungle of concrete, even if public spaces can feel ghostly at times.

In our current times of being mostly home-bound and not interacting with the city as much as we otherwise would,  Light of My Life can push us to consider our everyday geographies, in empathic (if slightly gloomy) “what ifs”: What if the thing that gives us security today, our house, turns into a source of danger? What if we had to run and hide in nature in Odense – where would we go? What if we had to find shelter in the middle of the city – what’s the first place we would try? What if we had to leave the city – what road would we take and who would we share it with?

 

Light of My Life is available on Filmstriben at https://fjernleje.filmstriben.dk/film/9000005395/light-of-my-life.

Link to the event



Close

Tue 26
1/25/2021 12:00:00 AM 1/31/2021 40 Vivarium 2019 | USA | Dir. Lorcan Finnegan | 98 min. Filmstriben false DD-MM-YYYY

Vivarium 2019 | USA | Dir. Lorcan Finnegan | 98 min.


Vivarium
Movie | Kl. 00:00 | Price: 0 Kr. | This week’s guest recommendation is wirtten by: Elena Stanciu

Organizer: Filmstriben

A vivarium is an enclosed area where animals and plants can be kept for observation. Etymologically, the word derives from Latin and it means “place of life;” a space where the conditions to preserve life are met and closely controlled.

In Vivarium, the understanding of life and the conditions of liveability are reduced to some bare minimums, as the main characters, Tom and Gemma (portrayed by Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots) enter a labyrinthian remake of a suburbia, only to find themselves trapped and forced to raise a strange human-like child. The leading metaphors of the film are clear very early on: the suffocating suburban life; the 21st century woes of modern marriage and parenting; the tedium of contemporary existence. The usual.

The symbolism of entrapment has reached very tangible notes in the past year, and we’re still experiencing it today. In the context of the pandemic the restrictions to travel and mobility made all of us change the way we feel about being at home. Home is a shelter, it’s where we’re safe from a dangerous virus, and where we remain, in order to protect others. The conditions for life are now even more tightly connected to the home, the area that encloses us to preserve our life.

But some homes are where the enemy also sleeps; domestic violence lives at home. The quality of housing is now dramatically projected onto the quality of life; loneliness at home peaks. The home now plays a new role as shelter, as architecture of protection, but it’s “shelter” and “protection” that also get new meanings.

I recognise the privilege I have, to live and take shelter in a home that ticks all the criteria for a proper shelter. I look around, in this clean, orderly city, and see nothing else than proper shelters – “places of life.” The impenetrable walls of this suburban architecture of protection keep me from knowing who really strives for escape. What could I do, even if I knew? The overindulgence of metaphor and synecdoche in Vivarium makes one consider a contrast with reality – all the things that look like something, but are its opposite; homes that look like places of life, but are not. As we come out of the pandemic – and of our homes – we should perhaps reconsider the architectural and cultural conditions for liveable lives, as they are inscribed and built in our homes.  

Link to the event



Close


This Is Odense