Leviathan and the Entangled Lives of Species: Screening and Introduction by Mark Westmoreland | 26 March 2024 | 19:15 | EYE Film Museum (Amsterdam)

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ReCNTR x Eye

During their Paravel & Castaing-Taylor: Cosmic Realism exhibition (20 January – 20 May 2024), Eye Filmmuseum is collaborating with ReCNTR on a number of talks and screenings that are taking place as part of the exhibition’s accompanying programme.

Eye Filmmuseum is the Dutch national museum for film. Their exhibition showcases the works of Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor, pioneering filmmakers who are reinventing the relationship between anthropology and cinema with their formally innovative nonfiction filmmaking. Paravel and Castaing-Taylor are closely associated with Harvard University’s Sensory Ethnography Lab, which was founded by Castaing-Taylor in 2006.

Over the coming months, ReCNTR, in various capacities, will be involved in the accompanying programme of this landmark exhibition.

Event Description

This screening of Leviathan (2012) by Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor will be preceded by an introductory lecture that situates the film’s impact within the traditions of anthropology and cinema.

‘Spectacular’ is an understatement for what Castaing-Taylor and Paravel achieved with their impression of life on a fishing boat setting out across the North Atlantic Ocean to fish in the exact location where Melville’s crazed captain Ahab pursued the white whale Moby Dick. The anthropologically trained pair of artists attached a dozen small GoPro cameras to both boat and crew. From the resulting hours of footage, the makers edited together an impression in raw poetry of life onboard a fishing vessel, showing the crew, the fish, the gulls and the waves all from an equal perspective. The film premièred at the Locarno film festival in 2012, winning the international film critics’ FIPRESCI Prize ahead of a glorious run through countless festivals.

Mark Westmoreland will give an expanded introduction (20′) to the film as an experimental post-humanist study of commercial fishing in the North Sea. Without a central character, discernible dialogue, or narrative motivation, the film resists offering the viewer an anchored point of view. Instead, unmoored and discombobulated, the viewer is drawn into an uneasy and entangled state among a range of human and nonhuman entities. By offering viewers a visceral perspective of an alienating world of extractive consumption, the film creates an unresolvable tension between experimental abstraction and ethnographic humanism.

Presented in collaboration with ReCNTR, Leiden University.

Mark Westmoreland, co-director of ReCNTR, is an anthropologist at Leiden University. He served as co-editor of Visual Anthropology Review before co-founding the Writing with Light magazine for anthropological photo essays. His research tries to ‘make sense’ of political violence by exploring sites where embodied practices and media aesthetics interface. He is currently developing a collaborative research agenda dedicated to attending to broken landscapes.

Ticket prices: Standard (€12.50), Student (€10), Cineville (free)
Tickets and further details

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