picture palace pictures

A film by Iva Radivojevic
In Production. Delivery : 2020

Produced by Madeleine Molyneaux, Vilka Alfier, Iva Radivojevic
DP: Jimmy Ferguson
Editor: Iva Radivojevic
Consulting Editor: Jay Rabinowitz, A.C.E.

An Ivaasks Films Production
In association with Picture Palace Pictures, ARTE La Lucarne, General Article Pictures

With the kind support of:
Cinereach, Jerome Foundation, Princess Grace Foundation, Sundance Documentary Fund, NYSCA, BRITDOC/PULSE, Croatian Audio Visual Center

Fiscal Sponsor: Union Docs

Filmmaker website: ivaasks.com

I saw a splintered labyrinth; I saw, close up, unending eyes watching themselves in me as in a mirror; I saw all the mirrors on earth and none of them reflected me; I saw the Aleph from every point and angle, and in the Aleph I saw the earth and in the earth the Aleph; and I felt dizzy and wept, for my eyes had seen that secret and conjectured object whose name is common to all men but which no man has looked upon — the unimaginable universe.”

- Jorge Luis Borges

Aleph is a travelogue of experience, a documentary journey to find that place of connection, of clarity, of understanding.

Inspired by a short story of the same name from Argentinean writer Jorge Luis Borges, Aleph is a feature-length creative documentary, a film that uses elements of narrative fiction and the rigor and mechanics of documentary practice to create multiple angles and points of view combined to make a whole. The film zooms into the hyper present to observe and document the ties that bond people across space and time. The experience of meaning, as both revelation and challenge, is what defines the film’s narrative.

Through the journey, the film explores the lives of ten people in ten different countries whose individual stories enable the viewer deeper understanding and insight into these particular stories, and consequently connecting to the larger questions of human community, connection and existence, from the micro to the macro as it were. The protagonists share their thoughts, their innermost feelings about life, their preoccupations and each narrative thread leads us closer to the “center of the unimaginable universe” or the experience of life. Each protagonist will be speaking in their own language, adding specific textures and melodies.

The characters/protagonists involved in the process are the filmmaker’s co-creators; they are equally engaged in the dialogue and the destiny of the film. In a way, all are equally responsible for surprising the viewer, for poking them, for acting as a reflection. Ideally, the film’s process, and its labyrinthine internal workings will create an atmosphere where the watching of the film is not separate from the making of the film as is usually the case. One feeds and informs the other—it effectively enriches it.

The stories are woven together, each melting into the next, but although they follow a thread, each one has its own particular style. The first one is lead by a stream of consciousness voiceover; another is portrayed as a POV perspective of the protagonist; yet another is a dialogue between two people, a silent scene, etc. Throughout the film, this internal dialogue and external conversation is punctuated by the voice of a gentle, inquisitive, even humorous narrator, a surrogate for the filmmaker’s voice, who serves as a guide to the topography of the film’s larger thematic. At the outset, the narrator introduces “the rules” of the journey or nature of the game to the viewer. In this way the viewer becomes an active participant. The narrator returns every once in a while to make a comment, to make a connection, a la Chris Marker’s Le Joli Mai (1963). The intention and intended effect is for the narrator’s captivating, and hypnotic voice to carry the viewer in and out of dream states.

Each individual becomes a protagonist in both their story and in the larger project; the viewer is drawn in by the veracity of the characters; their unique predicament provides an opportunity to recognize a shared humanity and embrace of these inner worlds. This is Aleph.

all photos copyright Iva Radivojevic/Ivaasks Films  

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