Previously at the ICA - Films

Ben Rivers, The Sky Trembles and the Earth is Afraid and the Two Eyes are Not Brothers, 2015

The Sky Trembles and the Earth is Afraid and the Two Eyes Are Not Brothers

6 May 201619 May 2016

“In a café in Morocco, about 50 years ago, Paul Bowles overheard a man, high on kif, say the title of this film. And so he wrote a story around this statement, a story that moves between different planes of reality.

I read the story, and the story behind the story, and the strange phrase kept circling around my mind, creating images and dreams. This film is a manifestation of these images, along with obsessions about cinema and how far we will go to make it.” Director Ben Rivers

There is a Q&A with Ben Rivers following the screening on 6 May, hosted by ICA Associate Curator of Artists’ Film and Moving Image Steven Cairns.

At the heart of the film’s layered narratives is an adaptation of A Distant Episode, the short story set in Morocco by American author Paul Bowles, first published in 1947. Moving between documentary, fiction and fable, The Sky Trembles… sees its protagonist, filmmaker Oliver Laxe, directing his own film in Morocco, the forthcoming Las Mimosas, before walking off set and into Rivers’ narrative.

The Sky Trembles… was shot on 16mm against the staggering beauty of the Moroccan landscape, from the rugged terrain of the Atlas Mountains to the stark and surreal emptiness of the Sahara, with its encroaching sands and abandoned film sets. Oliver Laxe is drawn into a hallucinatory adventure of cruelty, madness and malevolence, as his narrative combines with Bowles’ story and observational footage to form a multi-layered exploration of the constructs of cinema itself.

Premiered at Locarno Film Festival 2015, it has also screened at the London Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival and the New York City International Film Festival amongst many others.

This film is one part of a larger commission by Artangel. Read more about the project.

The Sky Trembles and the Earth is Afraid and the Two Eyes Are Not Brothers, dir. Ben Rivers, UK 2015, 95 mins

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