Man Ray’s Footsteps
by Chris Buckle
Sep 11, 2012 | 2318 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Taking Man Ray’s inscrutable cine-poem Emak Bakia (1927) as inspiration, The Search for Emak Bakia sees director Oskar Alegría walk the Basque coast with chance as his compass, following in the American surrealist’s footsteps and taking numerous enriching detours. It’s a suitably abstract approach: Alegría layers Man Ray’s avant-garde experiments over recreations and re-visitations, hunting out the house that inspired the film’s title and visiting clown graves and dreaming swine along the way. The film’s visual palimpsests are interspersed with text that’s by turns informational and contemplative, while a nice sense of absurdity keeps pretension at bay. Those with an active interest in Man Ray’s oeuvre will understandably gain most from The Search for Emak Bakia, but its constant inventiveness also affords the film an unexpected accessibility, stocking it full of engrossing moments worth lingering over. “Now I’ve gotten all muddled” confessed one interviewee, “I hope you can untangle it later.” It’s not a straightforward task, but it’s an immensely satisfying and inspiring one.  

First published in The Skinny (www.theskinny.co.uk) and reprinted with permission.

THE SEARCH FOR EMAK BAKIA

Spain, 2012, 84m

Director: Oskar Alegría

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