Stella Polare is an essay film occupying the ground between narrative, documentary and experimental film-making. It is a work of fragmented histories: of the catastrophes of empire, war, terror and resistance of our times. Its unseen narrator ‘encounters’ the inhabitants of an undisclosed port city in old Europe as they stroll along a jetty in the melancholy fading light of evening. These meetings are with terrorists, philosophers, writers, photographers, shopkeepers whose subjective accounts and conjecture create a rupture within twentieth century history and beyond. Such sequences provide a central structure around which threads of image, sound and voice over are interwoven to create an ambiguous and speculative narrative. Elsewhere, the camera explores a city where the people are largely absent. The dusty faded traces of a glorious imperial past – the interiors of opulently furnished nineteenth century apartments and museum vitrines of stuffed birds – encounter the present tense materiality of the video image. Stella Polare is a work of contemporary relevance which, through its particular engagement with history, reflects on time, memory and violent political action. It was shot in the Italian border city of Trieste.
International Film Festival Rotterdam, European Media Arts Festival Osnabrueck, Lucca Film Festival, Leeds International Film Festival, Athens Ohio International Film Festival, Ffilmic Film Festival Wales, Curzon Soho London, Flea Pit London, Roxy Screen London, Horse Hospital (Alternative Armistice Day), The Cinematheque, Vancouver (DIM Cinema screening)
Distribution: Collectif Jeune Cinéma (inc. French subtitled version)
View here at IFFR Unleashed.
Stella Polare is everything that British films quite often are not: meditative, mysterious and oblivious of the strictures of conventional narrative. I saw this film at the Osnabruck Media Art festival in May this year and absolutely loved it. An inspiration for independent filmmakers working with video technology; it shows how much can be achieved. Antonio Pasolini, The London Filter (2006)