Silent Cinema and Meditation

Silent Cinema and Meditation by Canan Balan


Silent Cinema and Meditation by Canan Balan in collaboration with Istanbul Experimental Film Festival will take place on November 25th, at Soho House Istanbul.

The event will begin with a discussion on the historical context of the films as well as the stylistic and thematic concerns in this selection. Having an embodied spectatorship experience as our main intention, there will be a guided meditation so as to open our sensory perception into the “here and now” and thereby feel our bodies from within. The group meditation will be followed by the films and the live musical accompaniment by Kutsal Kaan Bilgin.

The first film will be Maya Deren’s “The Very Eye of the Night”. Deren as a woman magician of experimental cinema will be offering a hypnotic cocktail of a lyrical visuality mixed with body, movement and repetition. After Deren’s dancers of the night sky, we will travel back in time to the early and transition period of the silent cinema.

We will be watching Bolero by a woman pioneer, namely Alice Guy-Blaché. Bolero is a tinted short Spanish dance film and it will be followed by a marriage comedy with Mabel Nodmand and Charlie Chaplin. The film was made at a time when Normand as a woman performer was leading series and Chaplin was yet to be known as the “little tramp”.

This selection is based on the wordless poetry, rhythm and comedy of the body and dedicated to the embodiment, inspired by the woman directors and comediennes of lyrical and early films. Instead of watching the female body as an object of desire pacified for the male gaze as intellects without bodies, we are aiming for an embodied experience thanks, firstly, to the group meditation, and secondly, to the male and female bodies able to express themselves with movement. ​

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