Cover story Misc

Moving pictures experience

Every year, when it’s dark and cold,
the Avanto festival presents the most innovative tendencies in music
and visual arts. This year’s edition focus on films under the title
of International Free Cinema. The festival is held this weekend in
several venues around Helsinki.


Like dancing to the rhythm of
free jazz, the moving pictures shown at the Avanto festival question
traditional ways of making and watching films. The festival has
invited two pioneers of experimental filmmaking: the Canadian artist
Michael Snow and the Austrian artist Peter Kubelka. Both will be in
Helsinki and present a retrospective of their essential works.

year the festival paid tribute to the local experimental filmmaking.
This year’s programme turns to the neighboring countries and brings
some rarities of Swedish and Russian experimental cinema. Curated by
researcher John Sundholm, the series Närä ögat
features a wide selection of Swedish experimental films from the
1950s and 1960s. On the other hand, the series Stekliannoe pole shows
the most vanguardist filmmaking currently done in Russia, in a
programme curated by filmmaker Masha Godovannaya.

Avanto has
also room for more widely known films. The festival offers a unique
opportunity in Finland to watch Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait, a
visual tour-de-force about the French football star, directed by
Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno.

The festival also
premieres Esko Lönnberg’s documentary Saturnus Reality, a film that portraits the Finnish band Circle, and the recording
sessions of the album Miljard, where the group has coined the new
genre of NWOFHM (The New Wave of Finnish Heavy Metal) that can mean
“mean fragile atonal piano improvisation or catatonic one-note
walls of sound”.

The music side of the festival is
offered in co-operation with the Äänen Lumo and the
Potlatch clubs. The first was founded in 1995 to promote
electroacoustic and experimental music and sound art in Finland.
Within this framework, Avanto will feature the comeback gig of the
synthesiser pop band Organ, one of the pioneers of Finnish electronic
music, and from Japan, the noise band Pain Jerk. The atmospheric
bonfire organ music of the Swedish trio Tape will counterbalance the
noise experience.

The Potlatch club brings two British
and two Finnish acts to the stage that base their music on
improvisation to achieve different goals. Eddie Prévost and
Alan Wilkinson take free jazz as the starting point of their journey
while Volcano the Bear take their arsenal of instruments to create
“ritual out of absurd humour and free association”. Collective
Avarus and female band Kuupuu represent the new Finnish underground.

The Potlatch club will bring two British and two Finnish acts to
the stage. The four acts all base their music on improvisation, but
the results are wildly divergent. Eddie Prévost and
Alan Wilkinson take free jazz as the starting point for a
journey into the core of heat. With their arsenal of instruments,
Volcano the Bear creates a ritual out of absurd humour and
free association. The Finnish collective Avarus confounds the
audience with its concoction of spontaneous and energetic
improvisation, while Kuupuu investigates rich textures of tone
and timbre, representing the female power of the new Finnish

Avanto Festival

Full programme:

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