Something of a hybrid between Jean Cocteau and Jan Svankmajer in its gothic expressionism and artful grotesquerie crossed with the metric precision of Kurt Kren’s more clinical materialaktion films that experiment with the plasticity of surfaces (most notably, in the deformed figures that recall the disfiguration and self-mutilation of Kren’s short film, 10/65 Selbstverstümmelung), Bokanowski’s earliest film, La Femme qui se poudre (The Woman Who Powders Herself) is, as the title implies, an evocation of concealment and unmasking, where the mundane act of a Victorian-era woman’s ritualistic application of cosmetic powder seemingly opens the window – or perhaps, Pandora’s Box – into underlying human anxieties of physical beauty, youth, desirability, and objectification. Reflecting the superficiality of societal notions of beauty through the alienness of landscape and the ephemeral riddle of true identity through epic, soul-searching journeys and faceless phantoms that emerge from thin air before vanishing from view, the terrifying images break apart and eventually disintegrate into irresolvable fragments of haunted memory within the course of the increasingly abstract film, as the waking dream descends ever further into the realm of nightmare and the deepest recesses of the subconscious, unraveling the veil of human vanity to reveal amorphous shadows cast by empty souls.—IMDb
Patrick Bokanowski born in 1943, lives and works in Paris. From 1962 to 1966, he studied photography, optics, and chemistry, under the direction of Henri Dimier, a painter and scholar specializing in optical phenomena and perspective systems. Bokanowski’s first true window into the world of cinema was through the animated films of Jean Mutschler and for a long time, animation remained for him a kind of predilection as well as a privileged ground for experimentation. Patrick Bokanowski, wishing to make his images more expressive, and his forms more fluid, collects rounded, blown or hammered shards of glass through which to film. Not being completely satisfied with this result alone, he then, with the help of specialists, manufactures optics and experiments with reflective surfaces, mirrors (both stable and moving), and mercury baths. His use of the technique of reflective mirrors, through which he films a completely distorted reality, is best expressed in his film, At The Edge of… read more
Finally watched it after a long time coming. This has completely blown my mind. Somewhere between reality and the sub-conscience. Like many truely cerebral works i never fully understood it, if in fact there really is a linear story, but it leaves a lasting impression. Place this as highly,in regards to cinema as an art form,as Peter Tscherkassky's Outer Space. Beautiful.