HEART OF HAWICK
SATURDAY 29 APRIL
10:00 – 11:30 / 64′ + Q&A
Irineu Destourelles and Rhona Mühlebach will be present for the Q&A.
The films in this programme have descriptive captions. The introduction and Q&A will have BSL interpretation.
Monster’s Walk in Ten Chapters is also available to enjoy with Audio Description online throughout the Festival (27 – 30 April).
Content warning: contains strong language, depictions of gendered murder.
by Rachael Disbury
In Thereafter, Forever, Once Upon, two films work within and outwith narrative frameworks, presenting untold prehistories and redefining the storytelling potentials of Scottish towns and forests.
Monster’s Walk in Ten Chapters is an outcome of Irineu Destourelles’s residency with Deveron Projects in Huntly, Aberdeenshire, during which the artist immersed himself in the literature of Huntly-born George MacDonald (1824 – 1905), who pioneered the modern fantasy genre. In Monster’s Walk in Ten Chapters, Destourelles creates a new Huntly fairytale, exploring the identity of the Scottish rural town in response to MacDonald’s well-known children’s fantasy, The Princess and the Goblin.
Destourelles employs the uniquely opposing methods of the genre, lulling viewers into a comfortably nostalgic pace while commanding a story of conflict, contradiction, heartache and rejection. By focusing on the plight and pluralities of Lilo, an otherworldly creature who drifts in and out of frame traipsing Huntly’s green and granite landscapes, the film explores intersectionality, representation, otherness, Blackness and diaspora in complex, disjointed, hybrid and real ways – complicating binary notions of good and evil and the moral hierarchies that such tropes traditionally represent.
Rhona Mühlebach – whose multi-channel film The River, the Horse and the Woman Alchemy commissioned in 2019 – returns to Hawick with Excitement Is Not Part of My Feeling Repertoire, conjuring a surreal multi-species, multi-lingual encounter between a detective, a neanderthal woman, a modern man and wild swine. We hear directly from each character, competing for narrative time with their own emotional existentialism: the detective afflicted with cynicism and mopiness; the neanderthal woman exhausted from empathy being a now-extinct emotion; the modern man who has just poisoned and euthanised his wife.
In a perfect application of the humour that characterises her work, Mühlebach makes both dramatic and comical use of flashback, monologue, confession and aria to evoke both thriller and theatre, creating a surreal and affecting portrait of unease. The supreme species of this story are the ‘swine-goddesses’, who sing and shine without complaint, interjecting with all-knowing advice about diet, exercise, positive thinking and psychotherapy. The creatures’ uncanny, mechanised skins, and the film’s thematic handling of survival and extinction, speaks to a digital anxiety: the all-too-relatable pressure of unattainable, never-good-enough blueprints for being human.
MONSTER’S WALK IN TEN CHAPTERS
37’ – Scotland – 2022
EXCITEMENT IS NOT PART OF MY FEELING REPERTOIRE
26’30 – Scotland – 2022