Practice: Film – documentary, experimental, hybrid
I am a filmmaker. My practice stands at the intersection between documentary cinema, artistic research and education. In the past 9 years, I have made several short films, and one feature length documentary, as well as commissioned work for The Guardian, VICE, European Commission, etc. My films circulated in A-class festivals worldwide (IDFA, CPH:DOX, Visions du Réel), got awards, mentions and reviews in major publications (Filmmaker, AEON, The Calvert Journal, The Guardian, etc). I have served on international juries, selection committees, and I am a member of the Documentary Association Europe. In parallel with my filmmaking practice, I am currently coaching and teaching aspiring filmmakers on the continent.
Areas of interest: Youth, Science, Collectives
Why are you a part of MagiC Carpets: MagiC Carpets gives me a unique context: the opportunity to meet a very special rural community, to better understand the human texture of this place, to spend time in nature, to get inspired, to exchange ideas with talented colleagues. To create a new work here feels like a gift. Surrounded by woods and clear skies (or even cloudy skies with thunderstorms), I cannot get enough of listening to the villagers’ stories. For 2 weeks, I felt privileged to adopt the rhythm of this place and to be able to absorb its MagiC.
MagiC Carpets project
Making a film in Slon was like a laboratory at first – I had a set of things I wanted to follow, but I didn’t know exactly what would come out of the process. I wanted to meet people close to my age (mostly millennials / younger/ or older), to take their pulse – but finally, the film is about dreams and fears – especially in relation to the natural habitat and more specifically, to wild animals. It was surprising for me how close to nature the interviewees were, and how many stories they had about bears, foxes, jackals, and wolves. It was a superb metaphor for the demons of the youth, and the images they gave me automatically sent me to fairy tales. So, I think I was really lucky to be able to have their almost fictional stories as a starting point – and then to search for different ways to echo them visually. I played with light and darkness, with the natural and the artificial, and of course with dream and reality – in a film that I find more sensorial than narrative. In a way, my whole experience is incorporated in the film: how I experienced the stillness of the landscape, the sounds, the changes of weather, how I felt about people and how this place altered my perceptions.
A landscape from nature. Birds chirping. Deer grazing. Drones patrolling in the forest. People looking for something with flashlights. A jackal’s howl. What is the colour of fear? A few young villagers tell us about their encounters with wild animals. Inoffensive and ethereal at first, their stories take us by the hand into a labyrinth that becomes darker and darker. At the edge of fear and imagination, dream and reality, the film invites us to question who the real “wild creatures” are.
Filmmaker Alina Manolache was born 1990, the year after the fall and execution of Romanian dictator Ceausescu. It marked the beginning of a new, post-communist era. At the start of the film, she calls out to people who had ever been lost on the beach in the nineties to get in touch with her. This seemingly random appeal leads to her travelling around the country and having conversations with a large number of peers about their memories of the experience, and about their life now.
A world asleep, in quarantine, seen through the lens of its invisible observers. Surveillance cameras, a police drone, a futuristic telescope view of the sun all combined in the artificial perspective of a ubiquitous kino-eye that relentlessly surveys a post-human landscape of global proportions.
The summer is ending. The boys in the gang will soon leave their village for university. A few final moments spent together, between excitement and fear of the future, reveal these adolescent uncertainties with sensuality, by the warmth of a campfire or under the lights of a private party. A female director’s perspective on masculinity under construction, on the edge, between two ages.
Astronaut Jessica Meir’s mission on the International Space Station glides from the euphoria of the first days in zero gravity, to the pressure of the first all-female spacewalk in history, and finally to a completely unexpected event: seeing the global pandemic on earth unfold from orbit.
What inspires you as an artist? My work rarely starts from a story, a subject, or a headline. It is rather timely and conceptual, with an awareness of the process and the form. My research interests deal with collectives and shared experiences. I look at groups of people (or artificial entities, more recently) linked by place, by work, by age, or by random events, always curious about the complex layering of the thoughts and feelings that unfold when individuals breathe the same air. With this in mind, I have made films about post-communist youth, surveillance, space exploration, coming-of-age, museums, human-machine relationships.
What do you think is the purpose of art? I think my mission as an artist is to document the present, and more specifically to make visible what is happening inside us now, in the present time – how we see things? How do we relate to each other? What perturbs us? What do we dream about? What is our place in the world? Ideally, I would like to leave behind a valuable archive for the future – a body of work through which future generations will be able to better understand who we are and how we feel as citizens living on Planet Earth in 2022 and beyond.
Instagram | Facebook | alinamanolache.com