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Artist Spotlight Series: Gariné Torossian
CFMDC Special Edition
DVD
n her lush, intricately constructed works, Gariné Torossian explores film form, hybrid film and video technologies, and themes of belonging, identity and the body. “Mining a rich palette of colours and textures, superimpositions and dissolves, mixing formats of Super 8, 35mm and video, [she] creates films that bridge the gaps between visual art, sound art, cinema and the rock video” (Lux Distribution).

Study guide includes an essay by Ian Balfour, York University.

CLICK HERE to download study guide.
1992 / 16mm / 3:45min
A film-within-a-film exploring the body in motion, frame by frame.  Built with four frames within one, half of the screen in motion, the other still, this film makes the viewer feel that they are watching a "moving picture."  The sensation one gets is of tension...expectation...shock. It freezes one in a frame. The glorious, trenchant music of R. Murray Schafer in the background further adds to the intense “high” of the film. 

The film consists of images of a dancer in motion alongside still images of bodies and faces in intense masturbation. These powerful images and motions coincide with the chaotic and disturbing energy of the film’s structure and flow, creating an experience not explored before. 

“Torossian takes thriller conventions - a threatened woman, a gun, a soundtrack of shrieking music -and cranks their hysteria to full blast.” - Toronto Festival of Festivals, 1992
“Girl from Moush” is a poetic montage of the artist’s journey through her subconscious Armenia. It is not an Armenia based in a reality, but one which appears, like the mythical city of Shangri La, when one closes one’s eyes. Rooted in what Jung may call a “communal consciousness,” her Armenia appears on film as a collage of myth, legend, experience and immigration. 

In her memoir, Gariné reveals a longing which is visualized but yet never solidly based in our reality. Icons of Armenia appear on the screen for only a second, and then disappear from both the viewer’s and the artist’s minds. The world of the traveller is filled with uncertainty and fascination. As viewers we are engaged and forced through unchartered landscapes that have been traditionally been restricted to the mind of the artist. Projected into proportions which are larger than life, the viewer is forced to confront and assimilate all that  s/he views and perceives.

Berlinale, Panorama 40th Anniversary Screening, 2019
Torossian's latest film marks a leap forward, and that's saying a lot for a filmmaker who's been releasing brilliant splashes of handmade abstraction into the world for the past two years. “Drowning in Flames” uses an astounding palette of image processing techniques to address the artistic process in both subject and form.
“Pomegranate Tree” is an experimental film inspired by the lush and ceremonial paintings of the Qajar dynasty from Persia and  Eli Langer's violent, aggressive sketches.  The film is a subtle study of sensuality.

Originally shot on Super 8 and blown up to 16mm, the film was made for the Splice This! Super 8 Festival in the summer of ‘98.
With “Sparklehorse”, Gariné Torossian returns to the collage style of filmmaking explored in her earlier films, “Visions,” “Girl From Moush,” and “Drowning In Flames.”  “Sparklehorse” subtly conveys, with characteristic poetry, the ways in which people communicate with and value each other in a world of spiralling meditation. The film is divided into three distinct sections:  “Happy Man,” “Good Morning Spider” and “Hundreds of Sparrows.” 

“Happy Man” suggests a friendship conducted always at a distance - all of the images are presented using formal distancing techniques such as colour, collage and printing. At the same time the soundtrack combines a “repressed” musical track with the poignant sound of telephone messages: “Call me back when you want your VCR.” 

The brief second section, “Good Morning Spider,” acts as an interlude, providing variations on a primitive scratched image of a spider with a quiet eerie musical accompaniment. The final section, “Hundreds of Sparrows,” returns to the theme of a (romantic?) relationship. Its image of birds echo the words of the poem/song that is spoken/sung on the soundtrack: “You are worth hundreds of sparrows.” 
“Babies on the Sun” offers nostalgic, weathered images of “childhood” inspired by the song of the same name by the band Sparklehorse. The textured and layered style of the film gives the impression of blurred memories floating in the subconscious mind. The images, half visible, are abstracted through a process of visual degradation, suggesting the effect of time on memory, and mystified through collage, revealing the non-linear configurations of memory where images dwell in interesting and emotionally cumulative juxtapositions. 
“An extraordinarily provocative film which draws the viewer in with its strange mesmerizing beauty.” - Brothers Quay

The film “Shadowy Encounters” is an homage to the work of the Quay Brothers. The film is a synthesis of collaged moving and still images taken directly from the Quay Brothers’ 35mm films and recontextualized in order to metaphorically and responsively capture and reframe the Quay’s films’ qualities. The resultant richly textured and layered imagery delves the labyrinthine and secret realms of the Quay Brothers’ world. 

In itself, “Shadowy Encounters” is a complete, compelling, mythic and painstaking transcription of an inner journey. It is a passionate, intimate and graceful dialogue conducted in the medium of film, filmmaker to filmmakers. In essence, “Shadowy Encounters” parallels the films of the Brothers Quay in its willingness to explore the diverse palette of the human psyche, where the emotional self subsumes the gaze.
None available.
Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre
32 Lisgar Street
Toronto ON Canada M6J 0C9
Monday - Thursday / 10:00 - 18:00
(416)  588 - 0725
Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre
32 Lisgar Street
Toronto ON Canada M6J 0C9
Monday - Thursday / 10:00 - 18:00
(416)  588 - 0725