From Werner Herzog to Hennessy Youngman, a line has been drawn from the firelight dancing on the walls of the caves of our ancestors to the arthouse future of 3D technology. It’s all about the caves. So we were delighted and intrigued when we came across this illustrated poster, mixing mysticism with body art. Here, Daniel Fawcett & Clara Pais, Directors of The London & Porto Underground Film Festivals, illuminate on the philosophy behind the visuals.
The poster for our film festival, illustrated by David Penela, had to represent not only the kind of festival we wished to present but also our ideas about what cinema is and could be. Our festival is concerned with the art of cinema, so it was necessary for us to consider cinema as a part of the history of art rather than simply a modern phenomenon separate from it. The technology itself may only be 130 years old but its purpose and role in our lives reaches back to the earliest human beings. Art is a singularly human expression that came into existence as a response to the great mysteries of life. Cinema is one of the current forms of this expression and is shaped by the conditions of our time. It is often forgotten that art does not grow solely from the rational mind but it is as much a condition of the body, a poetic expression erupting from the interplay between the energies of the body, the conflicts and harmonies of the organs and the irrational unconscious mind. Like early humans faced with cave paintings lit by flickering flames, in the cinema – when it is art – we can be greatly transformed. We glimpse truths, new ideas and new feelings emerge. Through this we can engage with the great universal mysteries of existence, but we can also gain insight into our own individual day-to-day lives.
Our festival seeks to show works of cinema that are taking the medium beyond the dead language of commercialism and industry, and that are made by people who know that art cannot exist under such conditions. These films will take many forms and styles and come from the personal explorations of the inner and outer worlds of the people who make them. They are unique to their creators, this uniqueness is what we celebrate and champion. Our poster grew out of these ideas.
Daniel Fawcett & Clara Pais, Filmmakers at The Underground Film Studio and Directors of The London & Porto Underground Film Festivals