There Is a Happy Land Further Awaay
Ben Rivers / UK / 2015 / 20 min
Tetterode, Wed 11 May, 20.00
Dutch premiere / Free entrance
The film captures the landscapes of the remote volcanic archipelago Republic Vanuatu, before the islands were devastated by Cyclone Pam in early 2015. While we watch scenes of the island and its every day life passing by, a hesitant female voice reads a poem by Henri Michaux, recounting a life lived in a distant land, full of faltering and mistakes.
Ben Rivers (born in 1972) is an artist and experimental filmmaker based in London. His work treads a line between documentary and fiction. Often following and filming people who have in some way separated themselves from society, the raw film footage provides Rivers with a starting point for creating oblique narratives imagining alternative existences in marginal worlds. Rivers uses near-antique cameras and hand develops the 16 mm film, including the materiality of this medium as part of the narrative.
Rivers’ first feature-length film, Two Years at Sea, was presented in September 2011 at the 68th Venice International Film Festival and won the FIPRESCI International Critics prize. His second feature, A Spell To Ward Off The Darkness, was made in collaboration with Ben Russell and premiered at Locarno Film Festival 2013. Ben Rivers is also the recipient of the 2016 EYE Art & Film Prize, awarded to artists for their contribution to the developments in the field between art and film.
From the report of the EYE Art & Film Prize 2016:
“Ben Rivers is one of the new strong voices of his generation, where boundaries between cinema and the other arts no longer exist. In his visually stunning work, he shows his engagement with today's society. Ben Rivers has a poetic eye, which makes him an elegant and sensitive observer of life and nature.”