A film by Jo Andres
1996, 26 minutes, Color, VHS/16mm/35mm/DVD
DIRECTOR Jo Andres
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Lisa Rinzler
CAST: Mimi Goese, Steve Buscemi, Lucian Buscemi, Lillian Keisler, Maryette Charlton,
ORIGINAL MUSIC: Hahn Rowe
ALMA’S VOICE: Mira Furlan
A Before Your Eyes, Inc Production
1997– BLACK KITES, Director & Editor, 35mm.
Based on 1992 journals of Bosnian visual artist Alma Hajric who was forced into a basement shelter to survive the siege of Sarajevo, Black Kites skillfully merges the reality-based content of her journal with interpretive visual material to reveal the simple, sometimes beautiful, yet brutal truth of her existence. Non-linear, dreamlike and spectral, Black Kites is a testament to artistry, imagination and the resiliency of the human psyche. Features sensitive performances by Steve Buscemi, Mimi Goese and Mira Furlan, a prominent actress from the former Yugoslavia, as the narrator.
Official selection: Berlin, Sundance, Toronto, London, Melbourne, Edinburgh, Sarajevo and Human Rights Watch Film Festivals.
Prizes: NY/Avignon, Chicago, Uppsala, Creteil, Marin County and Atlanta Film Fests.
Broadcasts : PBS and RAI Italian TV.
“***1/2 Highly recommended… a poetic testament to the strength of the spirit… “
“The film is dreamlike, a fusion of simple human activities and ambitiously complex technique…the piece achieves a sense of intimacy and gracious solitude, becoming a near-meditative experience. Startlingly humane, Black Kites seems spare, burrowing, endlessly mysterious.”
Dennis Grunes of Portland State University
100 Greatest English Speaking Films
“Explores a deeply personal story of how it feels to exist under siege…A moving statement about modern war, creativity and survival.”
Time Out New York
Jo Andres is both choreographer and filmmaker; her work defies easy classification. Her stage pieces weave projected film into a rich texture of mixed mediums with uniquely beautiful, holographic results. In Dreaming Out Loud, to name one, synchronized action unfolds across three screens, sometimes spilling out onto the stage and live bodies, and other times absorbing the dancers into the two-dimensional surface of the film. It is a tour de force of coordinated images.
Jo Andres’ powerful and original body of film/dance/light work has shown in New York City at The Performing Garage, La Mama, E.T.C., The Kitchen, and St. Mark’s Dancespace Project. She has toured to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, Yale University, the San Francisco Art Institute, Light Work in Syracuse, NY, the Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe, and throughout Europe. She has held numerous residences in the U.S., including the Exploratorium in San Francisco (the Museum of Science, Art and Human Perception).
Her film work has screened at festivals in Edinburgh, Melbourne, Zurich, Berlin, Toronto, London, San Francisco, and in New York at Lincoln Center, The Public Theater, Millennium, and the New York Downtown Film Festival.
Jo Andres’ new film Black Kites is both powerfully immediate and as enigmatic as her stage work. Black Kites is the outcome of a chance encounter between Andres and Sarajevan visual artist Alma Hajric. They met and became friends while on tour in Spain with their respective theater groups in 1988. At the beginning of the siege of Sarajevo in 1992 Hajric sent her journals with drawings and collages to Andres. Andres used these as the basis for Black Kites.
Alma Hajric still works and lives in Sarajevo, and she and Jo Andres continue to correspond.
Black Kites is a testament to survival and artistry, to imagination and reality.