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March 30

Films of Place by Ute Aurand

German experimental filmmaker Ute Aurand returns to the Harvard Film Archive with three films inspired by her immersive travels to distant lands—India, Japan and the United States. Completing the trilogy of “places,” begun with Junge Kiefern (Young Pines), Aurand’s impressionistic Japanese film, To Be Here, journeys across the US, giving special focus to New England and the utopian promise still resonant in the spirit and song which Aurand discovers so perceptively. To Be Here counts among Aurand’s most insightful and playful films, buoyed by her sincere fascination with “America the Beautiful” and offering a refreshing tonic to the usual cynical detachment which has traditionally defined European perspectives and writings on the US. In India, meanwhile, Aurand turns to a more rhythmic and instinctual approach to give an almost musical structure and feeling to the textures and colors of her three trips. Completed for this program, Aurand’s latest short film Sakura, Sakura extracts an evocative glimpse of Japan from her Young Pines footage. – Haden Guest

$12 Special Event Tickets
Ute Aurand in person

Monday March 30 at 7pm


Directed by Ute Aurand
Germany 2005, 16mm, color, 57 min

India developed from three journeys to Pune in 2001, 2002 and 2004. I arrived in a foreign country and felt astonishingly familiar with it. Walking through the streets of Pune I was submerged in Life—surrounded by the people, the colors, the light, the beauty. It was the small things that inspired me to film, sometimes a short glimpse, a hand movement, a smile, a temple hidden in a courtyard. It was like a long hot bath, that I took there in Pune's streets—Prana trembling in the leaves, in the dust, in the dances, Prana everywhere. – Ute Aurand

To Be Here

Directed by Ute Aurand
Germany 2013, 16mm, color, 38 min

To Be Here is the last part of my trilogy of countries that includes India and Junge Kiefern (filmed in Japan). In the past ten years I visited New England many times and decided to make a film about what attracted me—like the women's colleges, the Shakers, Katharine Lee Bates and her “Amercia the Beautiful.” I traveled through the present New England evoking former idealists and visionaries. Mount Holyoke College takes a special place in my film. The impulse for my trip to the Southwest in the second half of the film also came from “America the Beautiful,” which Bates wrote on her visit to Pikes Peak. While travelling west, I visited the Hopi and felt far far away from the United States of America. Nature seems to preserve what we the people forget. – Ute Aurand

Sakura, Sakura

Directed by Ute Aurand
Germany 2015, 16mm, color, 2 min

Sakura, Sakura is a two-minute film about two Japanese women, whom I met in Nara and Rappongi while filming for Young Pines. – Ute Aurand

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