Programmed by Benjamin R. Taylor
An impressionistic portrait of Baba Dana, an 85 year-old Bulgarian woman who has chosen to spend her life in the mountain, away from people and cities. Working with a 16mm film camera, expired film stock, hand-processing techniques and no commentary nor dialogue, I seek to create a visceral cinematic language that reflects her unique ways of living and being.
A word from Tënk
This film is a painting, a folio of photographs, an art installation, a performance piece, a poem, a dance. Baba Dana, the dancer; filmmaker Ralitsa Doncheva, the choreographer. An encounter, a meeting place, a walk in the woods, a conversation without words. A journey, a dreamscape, an illumined fairy tale, a study on light and darkness. A biopic, an untold history—a herstory, if you will—a meditation, a work of sound art. The life and lifestyle depicted as much as the materials through which they are depicted—that is, Baba Dana herself and the hand-processed expired film stock alike—seem, at once, extinct and yet so alive before our eyes: a lost world but indisputably one pulsating with breath like a forest, like the sky, like a single, precious life. At times it felt like frames were being lifted from the library of my own Balkan imagination, a secret storied children’s book featuring wild women, witches, and wolves, lost mountain monasteries where birds instead of monks sing and the constant chiming bells of a perhaps flock of sheep ringing truer than the alpine gods and goddesses themselves. This film is many things: a delight, a treasure, a rare gem.
Writer, performance maker, cinephile