Wavelengths 5: Blue Mantle 
Atlantiques / One / 753 Mcpherson Ave / Blue Mantle / Slaveship / Hell Roaring Creek
The ocean has always been a mythic source of life, as much as it has a legendary call to death.
In the mysterious and melancholic Atlantiques (Senegal/France), winner of the International Film Festival Rotterdam’s Tiger Award for Best Short Film) by Mati Diop, a young man speaking in hushed tones describes his high-seas odyssey to friends huddled around a campfire in Dakar.
Faint illuminations cast through an ornate gateway to a train platform in an abandoned station from Buffalo’s glory days create hazy, elegiac stained-glass effects, or the blurred vision of escape and disappearance in Eve Heller’s One (Austria); the first roll of film she ever shot, recently revisited and blown-up to 35mm.
Resuscitated archival footage of a tragic event is met with contemporary prophecy in Kevin Jerome Everson’s enigmatic 753 McPherson Ave. (U.S.A.).
Rebecca Meyers’ blue mantle (U.S.A.) is an ode to the ocean, intercutting between the mesmeric sea with its glistening, beckoning waters and various representations of the deep. Meyers crafts an ambitious treatise buoyed by the breadth of its cast.
The apocalyptic sublime of J. M. W. Turner’s 1840 masterpiece The Slave Ship, with its fiery conflagration and strewn debris amid wild waters, is the source for T. Marie’s time-based pixel painting-film Slaveship (U.S.A.). A languorous, searing abstraction with a hot palette updates the classic scene in reference to today’s skewed social hierarchy and the selling of human life.
Hell Roaring Creek (U.S.A.) is the latest film by experimental anthropologist Lucien Castaign-Taylor, co-director of Sweetgrass. A static camera records the coming of day as a shepherd leads his flock of sheep across the titular stream in a prismatic, painterly pastoral.