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El Mar La Mar
Northwest Film Forum
Seattle, WA
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El Mar La Mar
Thu Apr 19: 7.00pm

Joshua Bonnetta & J.P. Sniadecki
1h 34m

Series - Veracity: New Documentary Cinema


El mar la mar weaves together harrowing oral histories of the border region with hand-processed 16mm images of the flora, fauna and items left behind by those whove made the hazardous trek. Subjects speak of intense, mythic experiences in the desert: A man tells of a fifteen-foot-tall monster said to haunt the region, while a border patrolman spins a similarly bizarre tale of man versus beast. A sonically rich soundtrack adds to the eerie atmosphere as the call of birds and other nocturnal noises invisibly populate the austere landscape.

Emerging from the ethos of Harvards Sensory Ethnography Lab, Sniadeckis attentive documentary approach mixes perfectly with Bonnettas meditations on the materiality of film. Through their stunning collaboration, they create a mystical, folktale-like atmosphere dense with memories, ghosts and the remains of desire.

An unsettlingly topical portrait of the American southwestEl mar la mar plays more like a horror film than an exercise in journalistic nonfiction.  Jordan Cronk, Sight and Sound

One of the top 10 films of 2017cinema and landscape come together as sites of inscription marked by an encounter between the human and nonhuman.  Erika Balsam, ArtForum

Bonnetta and Sniadeckis film stands out because it allows one of the most politicized terrains in the world to speak for itself.  Philip Oltermann, The Guardian


Northwest Film Forum (View)
1515 12th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122
United States




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