The Space in Between – Marina Abramović and BrazilLondon Film Festival 2016
14th October 2016 9.00pm at Picturehouse Central
16th October 2016 12.45pm at ICA Cinema
The darling of the art world, Marina Abramović, showcases her latest foray into cinema, as she explores South America and their vibrant rituals. We follow her on a rambling trip through the Brazilian countryside as she goes in search of herself, seeking to heal her broken heart.
Abramović subjects us to her usual tropes in an attempt to subvert and essentially succeeds. She uses her rich knowledge of performance, art and general life experience to go on a personal journey of self-discovery, seeking the transformative qualities of ritual and dazzling us with brilliant imagery. There’s a breathless quality to the atmosphere that leaves you thinking of churches, and it makes an interesting watch, despite not lingering for long in any location.
While her work is thoughtful and sometimes profound, there remains a cloying melodrama to it. The irresistible cinematography seems to jar against the “rawness” that we associate with Abramović, as we see her apparently “at one” in a stunning staged tableau overlooking fields and mountains. This is, of course, to be expected of a performance artist, but the nature of the theatricality is rather suspect. We’re provoked to feel and empathise with the dramatic monologues and breathtaking visuals, but there’s an unnerving sense of emptiness to the film. The expert approach to production values leave it feeling similar to found-footage-style movies like Paranormal Activity, and we’re expected to accept, rather than question or understand.
Abramović’s willingness to explore, as well as her humility, is endearing but is spoilt slightly by the pseudo-intellectualism. It brings to mind Paolo Sorrentino’s satirical Talia Concept from The Great Beauty, who produces precocious soundbites for interviews but is decidedly vague. Overall, it’s a beguiling insight into a woman who continues to forge a path in what is undeniably still a man’s world, and we see glimpses of the endurance and vulnerability we know and respect of Marina.
For her fans, The Space in Between is a beautiful film, that will inspire, if not educate. For others, it may come across as a superficial ego project. While there’s a lack of analysis that will leave many disappointed, it’s well-worth a watch based on its beauty alone.
The Space in Between – Marina Abramović and Brazil does not have a UK release date yet.
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Watch the trailer for The Space in Between – Marina Abramović and Brazil here: