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Indybay Feature

The Invisible Forest

Wednesday, October 26, 2011
7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Event Type:
Location Details:
Humanist Hall
390 27th Street
uptown Oakland, between Telegraph and Broadway

Film evenings begin with potluck refreshments and social hour at 6:30 pm,
followed by the film at 7:30 pm, followed by a discussion after the film.

The Invisible Forest
by Antero Alli
– appearing in person

This unique, funny, and imaginative feature film was conceived and directed by local filmmaker Antero Alli and features the writings of William Shakesepare and Antonin Artaud.

A theatre troupe camps out in a forest to perform the vision of their Director, Antero Alli. It’s here in the forest that the Director’s dream story is able to wind itself through a rich tapestry of labyrinthine dreams within dreams which eventually carry us through to the shattering and regenerative conclusion of his cinematic opus. During their forest experiment, Alex, performed by the Director himself, is haunted by disturbing dreams where the French poet and playwright Antonin Artaud appears and mocks his theatre ambitions. Artaud’s magic theatre of ghosts, gods, and spirits have come alive in the forest. These strange repeating nightmares persist, tormenting Alex with the ghost of Artaud. In an attempt to regain control over his mind, Alex stops sleeping for days to keep the nightmares away. Sleep-deprived and with his sanity pushed to its limits, he seeks help from a psychotherapist who suggests hypnosis as a means to uncover the source of his disturbance. What follows is a phantasmagorical journey through the internal landscape of Alex’s subconscious memories and dreams, a sojourn that leads us to a place beyond belief, beyond words, and beyond the mind itself.

In their fascinating dialogues, both Alex and the psychotherapist challenge each other to expand their own world-views. The work they are doing is an attempt to realize Artaud’s vision of an explosive, transformative form of theater. Artaud is trying to get Alex to liberate himself from the obsession with particular artistic “forms,” and to instead embrace a way of being which surrenders directly to energy. This film, which was created through improvisations instead of a script, embodies this principle of art-making in its process. As the film progresses, it induces in the viewer some of the same alternate levels of consciousness which form its subject matter. Alex understands the cosmic Void as being a source of potential energy which creates everything, and the doctor finds this difficult to grapple with. The doctor understands some basic mechanisms about emotion which Alex has been ignoring at his peril. Subtly, their dialogue critiques the limits of both psychotherapy and art as avenues of self-exploration. In a wonderfully bizarre dream cabaret scene, the female spirit of Artaud’s ghost performs a vaudeville act in which she directly humiliates the doctor, who is a symbol for the discipline of psychology, with its need to reduce the mysteries of spiritual adventures to a set of easily understood personal problems. Artaud, after all, embraced his own mental illness as a liberating force, and waged a life-long losing battle against his psychiatrists. And in this film, Hermes, the Dream Ego, crouching in a tree and vibrant with crazed revelation, delivers an Artaud monologue wherein he ecstatically embraces the Void and embodies the will to madness with which the spirit of Artaud is tempting Alex.

This remarkable film is full of treasures. It is able to depict those elusive mental states which prove so hard to remember or describe when we awaken from dreams. It dares the viewer to let go of concepts and accept the risky adventure of following the free, unimpeded energies of the body and mind.

Wheelchair accessible around the corner at 411 28th Street

$5 donations are accepted
Added to the calendar on Fri, Sep 30, 2011 10:06PM
We are 100% volunteer and depend on your participation to sustain our efforts!


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