Stay in Queens this weekend and experience life in some of the world’s most remote areas. From August 8th through August 10th, the Museum of the Moving Image will host the tenth annual Rural Route Film Festival by screening 16 international motion pictures — five features and 11 shorts — from faraway places in Slovenia, Somalia, Hungary, Russia, and other countries. The main theme is ancient pagan cultures as this year marks the 50th anniversary of Sergei Paradjanov’s Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (bottom photo), which blends mythology, religious iconography, and pagan magic from Ukraine’s Carpathian Mountains in the 1800s. Appearances by filmmakers and actors and live music will accompany some of the screenings.
The schedule and more photos are on the jump page.
- Friday, August 8th, Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, 7 pm. As mentioned above, Ivan’s mother mourns her husband’s brutal murder, while Ivan is irresistibly drawn to Marichka, the killer’s beautiful daughter. Unhappily married to another woman and cursed by a sorcerer, Ivan’s obsession brings him close to the edge. Carpathian Rap, an animated music video for Ukrainian “ethnic chaos” band Dakha Brakha, will screen before, and a vodka reception will follow.
- Saturday, August 9th, Karpotrotter, 2:30 pm. At the peak of the Yugoslav Black Wave film movement in 1971, filmmaker Karpo Godina traveled through the hinterland, submerging himself in local culture from village to village, capturing the multi-ethnic region in an unusual road movie. In Karpotrotter, a young filmmaker retraces the journey through Serbia, coming up with an original film that incorporates Godina’s footage. The film will be preceded by Oss Oss Wee Oss, an obscure documentary on pagan May Day celebrations in England’s Cornwall, and Lomax, a short on ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax, who encounters a 73-year-old recluse in the Mississippi Delta during his 1941 journey to record an oral history of the blues.
- Saturday, August 9th, The Wicker Man, 4:45 pm. This tale depicts a pious (virgin) police sergeant who travels to a remote Scottish Isle in search of a missing girl and discovers a community that has embraced a sexually uninhibited pagan lifestyle. The motion picture will be preceded by Symphony No. 42, an animated short with 47 observations about the irrational connections between humans and nature; County Fair, a brief glimpse of the 4-H livestock competition at the 2011 Wayne County Fair in Ohio; and Burn out the Day, a short on the pleasures and terrors of rural domestic comfort.
- Saturday, August 9th, Sunset Edge, 7:30 pm. Sunset Edge is a real-life abandoned trailer park in North Carolina. In the film, four apathetic teens find themselves in harrowing circumstances as daylight fades and a mysterious man comes out of the shadows. This is the world premiere, and director Daniel Peddle and cast members will attend. The movie will be preceded by White Earth, a visually stunning portrait of the North Dakota oil boom from a young boy’s perspective, and Godka Cirka (A Hole in the Sky), the story of a young shepherdess who looks up at the Somali sky and thinks about her life.
- Sunday, August 10th, Celestial Wives of the Meadow Mari (middle photo), 2:30 pm. Rooted in central Russia’s autonomous Mari El region — an area filled with lakes, forests, and long-standing traditions — the Mari are one of world’s last remaining nature-based pagan societies. This film mixes sexual maturation, fertility, love, and marriage with rituals and nature. A woman is cursed by a jealous tree, another disappears after she becomes the “lover of the wind,” and a voluptuous aunt rubs her flat-chested niece down with a towel to pass along some femininity. The film will be preceded by Prospect, a short about a teenage girl and her father who hunt for precious materials on a toxic alien planet.
- Sunday, August 10th, Butter on the Latch, 5 pm. After a personal breakdown, a Brooklyn performance artist and her friend head to a rustic camp in California to learn folk music and dance in this movie. However, the intended escape devolves into a psychosexual drama that pushes their friendship, and sanity, to the edge. Director Josephine Decker and actress Sarah Small will be on hand. The flick will be preceded by Krasna Malanka (top photo), a short about a warden, bear, gypsy, devil, grandpas and grandmas, and kings and queens who take over a village in celebration of the pagan/Christian-hybrid, mid-winter Malanka holiday. Director Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk will make a Skype introduction.
In addition to the film, the museum will host live performances of world music in its courtyard. The following is scheduled.
- Saturday, August 9th, 4 pm and 6:45 pm. The Brooklyn-based Iona Scottish Session Players will play traditional/psychedelic Scottish fusion featuring fiddle, guitar, and bagpipes.
- Sunday, August 10th, 4:30 pm. Hydra, a three-woman group who sing in Albanian, Macedonian, Spanish, English, and “HydraGibberish,” will perform harmonies. The group features Sarah Small, the lead actress from Butter on the Latch.
Details: The Tenth Annual Rural Route Film Festival, Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Avenue, Kaufman Astoria District, August 8th through August 10th, times vary, $10. Plus, a Rural Route Festival Pass is available for $27.
Photos: Museum of the Moving Image