MUBI is proud to present the exclusive online premiere of Isiah Medina's debut feature film, 88:88. A densely layered montage that is both formally rigorous and emotionally raw, Medina's film explores with ideas about time, love, knowledge, poverty, and poetry.
"Where does one start on Isiah Medina’s multiversal debut feature 88:88?," asks Filipino director Raya Martin (La última película, Independencia) in an introduction to the film for the Notebook. "Possibly with darkness, or the birth of an image, or the initial perception of it, or even with the history of cinema quickly rupturing into parts of music, literature, philosophy."
Upon its debut at the Locarno Film Festival, where we discovered it ("a kaleidoscopic combination of self-portrait, documentary of Medina's local subculture and friends, and a radical attempt to create an actively thinking film, a film forming thought through the evolution of its imagery and cutting"), festival programming director Mark Peranson wrote:
"Preternaturally talented, the young Winnipeg-born artist/filmmaker Isiah Medina (b. 1991) has gained an ardent cult following from a series of short works released directly on the Internet. With his feature-length debut, Medina confirms his promise as the most adventurous and contemporary practitioner of the avant-garde of his generation, creating a stunningly photographed, radically edited work that merits comparison to late Godard… that is, if Godard was raised on hip-hop and without money. "
88:88 was then selected by the Toronto (where we wrote on it again: "this is unbridled filmmaking, resoundingly alive") and New York film fFestivals, among others, including DocLisboa where it took home the Best First Feature prize. Read director Isiah Medina's introduction to his film here.
Keyframe calls 88:88 one of the best avant-garde films of 2015. For more background, Cinema Scope magazine has published an extensive and impressive interview with the filmmaker by critic Phil Coldiron, who in his introduction says:
"At a time when the term “experimental cinema” has come to designate more or less a set of potential generic forms, 88:88 is a real experiment, which means that its failures, or what appear to be its failures, themselves produce thought; chief among these are its occasional lapses into inscrutability, the result of creating rhythms which are too dense and too fast for any viewer to process in real time. But this “failure,” tied to our accepted notions of “reading” moving-image work, nonetheless points squarely to the film’s great and generous demand: to begin every cinematic relation from degree zero. I could say that 88:88 is a masterpiece, but masterpieces are the domain of the past; Medina has taken his first step into the future."
"If documentary fixates on what is real, then fiction is the very fixion that makes the link possible. Or to put it another way, imagination is included in reason, or fictions have a place in reality, and if we lose the fiction, we lose the link with reality itself. It is pure fiction to say that 88:88 is not a documentary. Fiction totalizes knowledge of an untotalizable situation in order to produce a shift in objective knowledge of the world to subjectivized truth."
And for Brooklyn Rail, Steven Macfarlene described this incredible new kind of film:
"88:88 is as much a diary film as an essay film, as much about class as it is about its internalization—and, littered with fleeting vantages on everyday escape, glimmering distractions and paths acknowledged but untaken by Medina’s camera, a work of startling romanticism."
88:88will be playing globally March 18 - April 17, 2016 exclusively on MUBI.
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