The Phantasmagoric Films of Piotr Kamler (feat. Chronopolis!)

We’ve crossed paths with many wondrous works throughout our adventures in programming, but when it comes to the films of Piotr Kamler, we never fail to take a pause in order to gather our collective jaws off the floor. Often labeled as science fiction, Kamler’s works explore the inner depths of imagination more than the far reaches of outer space, eschewing linear narratives for dynamic, hallucinatory symbolism rendered in everything from clay to ink, paper cut-outs, early CGI and even pinboard animation — all paired with startling musique concrète scores by the likes of Luc Ferrari and Bernard Parmegiani. Tonight we’ll eagerly peer into Kamler’s mind-expanding output, culminating with a rare 35mm screening of Chronopolis (his only feature film), an Egyptian-flavored cybernetic opus that immediately sucks you into a transcendent alternate universe with its own M.C. Escher-like laws of physics, space, time, and dream-logic. As alien as every sound and every moving part is, it feels vaguely comforting and familiar, as if you remember it from childhood or dreams. Fans of surrealist animators the Brothers Quay will see similarities to their earlier films, which were likely influenced by this monumental achievement.

Chronopolis Dir. Piotr Kamler, 1982, 35mm, 65 min.

Watch a truly trippy excerpt from “Chronopolis”!

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