Previously at the ICA - Films
10 Sep 2017
Mimosas is both a contemporary Western and a stunning odyssey through the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, as well as being a counterpart to its sister film by Ben Rivers, The Sky Trembles and the Earth is Afraid and the Two Eyes Are Not Brothers. This double bill is a unique opportunity to watch both films with an intermission.
In Mimosas, a caravan escorts a dying sheikh through an unforgiving landscape. His last wish is to be buried with his loved ones, but death does not wait. The caravaneers, fearful of the mountain pass, refuse to transport the corpse. Ahmed and Saïd, two rogues traveling with the caravan, pretend they know the way and promise to take the corpse to its destiny.
Filmmaker Oliver Laxe’s Mimosas intersects with Rivers's The Sky Trembles… and is in fact the film within a film depicted by Rivers, with both features sharing occasional scenes and perspectives in a dichotomous entanglement. While Laxe appears as the lead actor in The Sky Trembles…, he remains discreetly off camera in Mimosas, present only through his precise and sensitive approach in working with a small cast and the landscape they inhabit.
At the heart of the layered narratives of The Sky Trembles… is an adaptation of A Distant Episode, a short story set in Morocco by American author Paul Bowles, first published in 1947. Moving between documentary, fiction and fable, The Sky Trembles… sees its protagonist, filmmaker Oliver Laxe, directing his own film in Morocco, the forthcoming Mimosas, before walking off set and into the narrative by Rivers.
The Sky Trembles… was shot on 16mm against the staggering beauty of the Moroccan landscape, from the rugged terrain of the Atlas Mountains to the stark and surreal emptiness of the Sahara, with its encroaching sands and abandoned film sets. Oliver Laxe is drawn into a hallucinatory adventure of cruelty, madness and malevolence, as his narrative combines with Bowles’s story and observational footage to form a multi-layered exploration of the constructs of cinema itself.
Mimosas, dir. Oliver Laxe, Spain 2016, 96 mins
The Sky Trembles and the Earth is Afraid and the Two Eyes Are Not Brothers, dir. Ben Rivers, United Kingdom 2015, 95 mins