The Search for Emak Bakia

The phrase “a love letter to cinema” is in heavy use these days — but The Search For Emak Bakia truly lives up to the notion, unraveling a decades-old mystery in the process and highlighting the legacy of Man Ray: the surrealist pioneer who emerged as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. In 1926, Man Ray directed Emak-Bakia, the landmark cinépoéme utilizing avant-garde techniques the filmmaker would become famous for, such as soft focus, multiple exposures and the “Rayograph” (which involves photographic exposure without the aid of a camera!) Modern filmmaker Oskar Alegria, yearning to locate the Basque house in which Emak-Bakia was filmed, finds himself in a bind: only three views of the mansion exist in the film, there are no archival listings, and today no one remembers the house. Abandoning traditional journalistic approaches, Oskar instead embarks on a psycho-geographical journey which has him following a glove floating in a breeze, lying in a pigsty, and contacting a musician whose CD he found on Man Ray’s grave. It’s a beautiful, humorous work that playfully illuminates and expands our notions of cinema, language, and meaning.
Dir. Oskar Alegria, 2012, digital presentation, 83 min.

Watch the trailer for “The Search for Emak Bakia”!
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