Previously at the ICA - Films

still: Perestroika

Perestroika

21 Oct 2009

Perestroika is a film about re-structuring in many fascinating ways. The filmmaker re-traces a journey made 20 years ago on the Trans-Siberian railway to the mysterious Lake Baikal, the deepest lake in the world. That expedition, which she filmed, was the last she made with her dearest friend, Sian, who was to die suddenly soon afterwards in a cycling accident. The filmmaker is now herself suffering from retrograde amnesia as the result of a similar accident. The re-enactment, initially intended to be about the recovery of memory, becomes a journey to the heart of darkness, where past and present blur, imagination overrides reality and, despite sub-zero temperature outside, the train boils. In creating a new archive of images, the filmmaker inevitably questions their status in relation to the previous footage. What does photography offer us but ghosts? Does she recognise them, and if so, does that union mean her identity is contained only on the surface of the film as well? To connect to her past trauma maybe means destroying her present self. The infinite snowscapes, steaming lake and flaming sun construct a psycho-geography that stuns the retina, in this film of visceral emotional revelation and transcendental vision. Helen de Witt

dir Sarah Turner, UK, 2009, 115min

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