For Immediate Release – January 10, 2014
Toronto – 253469 will hold a public screening of "Cold Iron Is A Titanic Comedy", a 70 minute absurdist kabuki opera art film directed by Toronto artist Wesley Rickert, on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at CineCycle Underground Cinema, Toronto, Canada. Rickert’s first feature length digital film, shot and produced in 2013, radiates Istvan Kantor as the Neoist Pied Piper, Art Szombathy as Louis the IV, Ian Malone as Juan Ponce De Leon and Christina Kozak as the universe expanding Tally Aurora. The film is structured on kabuki opera principles with elaborate costumes, stylized movements and an orchestra of absurdist poetry that communicates scale, passage, discovery and invention. Tickets are $10 at the door. Doors open at 8 pm.
In the words of director Wesley Rickert this film is a "tin-foil road-trip to Florida & the British Museum, in faster Chinese that dialogues over the electric kettle of Toronto’s City Hall and rotates in perpetual stillness towards a tsunami of row-boat performances". Appearances by other Toronto artists include Henry Benvenuiti as Captain Smith, The Hercinia Arts Collective playing sirens, Sandra Fitzsimmons as Liberty, Tonya Henry as an old flame, Eszter Jagica as the fountain of youth, Olivia Roblin as Janus, Brooke Stubbings as the swimming passengers, Kirsten Webb as a groovy disco Gargon, Amber X as the Captain’s Hallucination and Ashley Zarowny as Vincent Van Gogh. "Cold Iron Is A Titanic Comedy" is an independently financed Art Zoo Studio production distributed internationally by 253469, "an umbrella without the hat".
The screening will be introduced by Istvan Kantor, recipient of the Canadian Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media arts. There will also be a starting line-up of films and videos by Toronto area artists including: "the sinking of the TITANIC, 2012, (3 minutes, 30 seconds) Istvan Kantor, "untitled" 2012, (4 minutes 30 seconds) Chris Boni, and "powerline" 2013, (2 minutes) Wallace D. Robinson.
To reserve tickets or for more information contact:
Kathleen Reichelt, 253469,
CineCycle is located behind 129 Spadina Ave, Toronto down the lane on the east side, (south of Richmond St)
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Pre-Release Film Review, by Kathleen Reichelt
"Cold Iron Is A Titanic Comedy" was shot, scored and produced in Toronto during 2013, with locations that include City Hall, Kensington Market, Little Italy and the city’s bicycle lanes. While not the basis of the film, they provide place and time references in a filmless film that is a timeless kabuki opera formed by poetry.
Starting with a bird’s eye view, multiple players come to the stage as fictional characters carving out their individual journeys. Passages follow from landscapes painted with cinematic tracking to rolling waves in great lakes. The players balance on one leg of fiction and another leg of art history. Words fall from their mouths like water, beans and flowers. In a room of grand pictures a kettle is an unplugged key, relating to the waves, to the sinking of a ship which claims to be a comedy in a language that is difficult to understand. Constant is the unravelling and the dance in the room of reproductions where words are also pictures and this medium is our present consumption.
What does the Chinese script mean?
With all of the references to art history – the British museum, the nude, the portrait, the painter, the musician, ballet – the empty shopping cart brings to mind the sculpture by American artist Duane Hanson of the life size hyper real woman entitled "The Supermarket Lady" (1969), a cart that overflows with objects of mass consumption. But director Wesley Rickert offers an empty cart, drawing attention to an emptiness found in many of the vessels of this film; not an emptiness that leads to tragic despair but instead to a space that is big enough to begin again.
One of the anchors in this film is the character Don Juan Ponce De Leon (whose claim to fame was accidentally discovering Florida) played by Ian Malone. Malone portrays De Leon as the transient hippie, hipster, hitchhiker, man on the road, a beatnik poet headed for the beach. He holds the records, the voices, as dead and dying vinyl in his hands. And yet his presence is as important as the tea kettle, making connections to the vibrations of other objects and words in time and space. Sound trippy? The tea kettle interacts with the ballerina and Louis IV, connecting players who otherwise do not relate. Is the connection significant? Political? Is the kettle connected to tea? To the British museum? To Medusa with whom Louis IV dances? Who cuts off his head? Are the American beaches connected to Chinese script? Are there elements of chance poetry? Are accidents the unravelling of history? Is the electric kettle a symbol of revolution?
Two other anchors in this film are Louis IV, a pretended connoisseur of culture played by Art Szombathy, and Tally Aurora, a shape shifter who is also Medusa, a bird, and musician played by Christina Kozak. Louis IV and Medusa interact with each other through their dance in the British Museum. Louis IV looses his head to the cool and collected Medusa, who slices, cuts and edits the dead weight from his back. Maybe it is a gesture of kindness or necessity, to remove what is no longer needed for art.
The film overflows with gestures and references to cutting ties with art history and art processes. The other characters make appearances as brief as hallucinations or fragments of a dream that appear and never return. When faces do reappear, they are transformed and not always recognizable. Moving inside, outside, from beach and lake to streets and bicycles, back to the operatic stage again. Snapshots of people too distant to recognize, familiarity blurring with strangeness, a dream like consciousness merging with photographic memory. The feeling of deja-vu.
When the Neoist Pied Piper, played by the real life leader of Neoism Istvan Kantor, arrives with his megaphone, the director brings us back to the stage, to remind us that this is clear cutting fiction, which is Rickert’s platform for art making. Through the megaphone Kantor’s voice rings with the director’s words: "The hole is a schedule for difficult births". Another key to what lies ahead. Wide open spaces. An audience of one. Coincidental neoist dump trucks. People, cars and bicycles. A recycling of culture. A wiping out of formula.
We are entering the what happens next era and the future looms big on the horizon as east meets west again. There is an empty cart, great lakes and an ocean. The audience must learn to sink or swim or emerge from the fresh waters of digital film making. Philosophy and humour are the paddle, boat and compass of this fiction.
This kabuki opera film narrative is a surprisingly emotional off-beat comedy. It embraces, squeezes and spits out multiple perspectives, offering no easy conclusions.