[Frameworks] º*¨¨*º Songs from the Nickel - Alina Skrzeszewska - DL screening º*¨¨*º

From: Klaus W. Eisenlohr <klaus_at_richfilm.de>
Date: Wed, 27 Apr 2011 00:23:21 +0200

directors lounge screening:

Alina Skrzeszewska
Songs from the Nickel
Thursday, 28 April 2011

Bergstr. 2
D-10115 Berlin-Mitte
U-Rosenthaler Platz
Alina Skrzeszewska created a colorful, sad and
thoughtful film about the shadow sides of
downtown Los Angeles, not without showing strains
of hope. And there is music, songs by the
protagonists starring in the film.

The Nickel, the Eastern part of downtown used to
be an isolated island in the urban grid of L.A.:
historic but sordid former grand hotels; the
number of homeless people surpasses the number of
inhabitants multiple times; a network of
christian missions and charity organisations are
entangled in what is called the Skid Row; from
10 pm through 6:30 am you are allowed to sleep in
the street (but then you have to move); there is
a lack of over 12,000 beds for homeless shelter;
on the other hand, a massive police presence and
the reign of crack makes life in the street like
a trip to hell. In this strange otherworldly
urban zone, the old hotels seem to be islands in
the stormy waters, and they are the cheapest
places to live in town. Here, the artist
Skrzeszewska rented a room for over one and half
a year while shooting for her film. Those who
live here, and whom we get to know in the film,
have at least some kind of steady income, a job
in the hotel, a veteran pension, or social
welfare for the disabled. They were able to leave
the state of homelessness or the circle of jail
and drugs.

Thus, for Alina the hotels are a place of
reflection, a retreat from the "war in the
street" as Alina calls it. "In the street there
is never time for thoughtfulness." Therefore, she
uses these odd spaces of retreat that the hotels
are as spaces of reflection - and possibly
projection - to discuss life and the society that
creates those biographies missing any hope. The
artist's conditions for a talk in front of the
camera was openness to have an earnest
conversation. We see very little "false" acting
in front of the camera, maybe because the artist
does all the recording on her own, and it is this
sincerity of a "one to one" talk and Alina's
honest interest in the story of her counterpart
that makes her bridge the gap: A young European
woman who studies at CalArts and the finally
settled tramps. Some of them tell stories of
their life, they never told before. We get to
know there are many reasons to strand at the
hotels of the Nickel. Some were dropped out by
the society that fits only for the fittest, and
they lost everything they had in the past. Others
decided not to "play their game." All of them
still seem to be untouched by the epidemic that
now spreads for 2 decades: crack.

In such a way, Alina Skrzeszewska also shows to
us the poetry and wisdom of the underprivileged,
all of which recorded by a camera that was
inspired by Edward Hopper and the reading of
Charles Bukowski, as Alina admitted to herself
after she had finished the film. The positive
notions of the film however derive from the
examples of anarchistic renderings of their
interests, like the illegal music studio in the
hotel's basement. It's that very American idea of
the self-made man that is still valid, and the
roots of American pop culture based in the will
of the poorest men to survive in dignity that are
still showing, here.

A. Skrzeszewska, who was born in Wroclaw in
Poland, and who lives and works somewhere in
between Berlin, Los Angeles and Vienna, will be
present at the screening at Z-Bar and will be
available for Q&A.

In addition, Alina will present the short film
"Notes from the Fields", 10 mins, showing a day's
cycle on the crossing of 5th St. and Los Angeles
St. in The Nickels.

Curated by Klaus W. Eisenlohr

More infos, German text and film stills:
Artist Link:
Press Links:
Klaus W. Eisenlohr, Osnabrücker Str. 25, D-10589 Berlin, Germany
email:			klaus_at_richfilm.de
and film production:		http://www.richfilm.de
phone:			int.- 49 - 30 - 3409 5343 (BERLIN)

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Received on Tue Apr 26 2011 - 15:23:45 CDT