N/N 2019: The Trilogy of the Sacred and the Satanic – True/False Film Fest N/N 2019: The Trilogy of the Sacred and the Satanic - True/False Film Fest

N/N 2019: The Trilogy of the Sacred and the Satanic

In which Pamela Cohn casts light on Pirjo Honkasalo’s The Trilogy of the Sacred and the Satanic.

In Neither/Nor, True/False spotlights repertory work that broadens the boundaries of nonfiction filmmaking as well as film writers who are sharp interpreters of this exhilarating and fraught art. This year, we are turning our attention to one director, Pirjo Honkasalo, and three connected journeys she embarked on throughout the 1990s: The Trilogy of the Sacred and the Satanic. Honkasalo is one of the leading fiction directors in her home country of Finland. At 29, she directed what was then the country’s most expensive film, Flame Top (1980). Concerned about the direction her life was headed, she turned to nonfiction filmmaking as an attempt “to see behind the rational,” as she tells Pamela Cohn, this series’ programmer and author of its accompanying monograph, available for free online and at all screenings.  The three films in this series are all the work of masterful but modest crews placing themselves in intense and disorienting real world situations. They raise vital questions about the observational documentary camera. Is this device, which we often associate with an empirical truth, capable of capturing sacred relationships, or is the act of trying to do so a sin? If humans form spiritual bonds, is there a place for the camera within them? And are there images we should never see? The series officially begins with a reception for Honkasalo at 6pm Wednesday, Feb. 27, at Ragtag Cinema, followed by a 6:45pm screening of her masterpiece, The 3 Rooms of Melancholia

N/N: Tanjuska and the 7 Devils

When a 10-year-old girl stops speaking, her family desperately turns to an intimidating priest who claims she has seven demons inside her.Screens for free as a part of the Neither/Nor Film Series. Neither/Nor is presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

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N/N: Mysterion

Set in a polluted corner of Estonia, Pirjo Honkasalo’s first documentary feature lovingly explores the lives of Russian Orthodox nuns who spend their days working the land and praying to the heavens.Screens for free as a part of the Neither/Nor Film Series. Neither/Nor is presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

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N/N: Atman

A devout Hindu man whose legs have been paralyzed since childhood heads on a 3,000-mile pilgrimage up the Ganges river in honor of his recently deceased mother. Screens for free as a part of the Neither/Nor Film Series. Neither/Nor is presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

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To accompany each Neither/Nor film series, we publish a monograph with extended essays, writings, and interviews. The monographs are available for free at various venues in downtown Columbia and are published online, in their entirety. Follow the link on the cover photo to read the monograph.

Pamela Cohn is an American film curator and writer based in Europe and the UK. She programs for DokuFest, The International Documentary and Short Film Festival in Prizren, Kosovo, and has worked for True/False, the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam, and DocPoint in Helsinki, Finland, among other festivals. She is a contributing writer and interviewer for Filmmaker Magazine, The Calvert Journal and BOMB Magazine. She is the author of a forthcoming collection of long-form conversations with moving image artists and filmmakers called Lucid Dreaming: Making Personal Nonfiction Cinema in the Twenty-First Century, to be published this autumn with O/R Books, New York.

NEITHER/NOR IS SUPPORTED BY A FILMWATCH GRANT FROM THE ACADEMY OF MOTION PICTURES ARTS AND SCIENCES.