Mariano Pensotti's Cineastas Feb 2, 2015

by Kenzie Rose

To what extent does art influence real life, and real life influence art? This is the question the audience consider during Cineastas, On the Board’s most recent installment. A two-tiered stage, stocked with the artifacts of both daily life and cinematic endeavor, serves to frame the dramas of four Argentinian filmmakers struggling to reconcile fiction with reality, and, likewise, reality with fiction.  

As evidenced in Cineastas, the relationship between the creator and his or her art is dynamic, fluid, symbiotic. As examples: a father grappling with his inevitable demise transforms his film into a testament to his daughter. A McDonald’s employee vents his corporate subjugation into a disturbing thriller. A struggling recipient of unprecedented success struggles to adapt to the mold forced upon her.  An adoptee longing to connect with her parent’s Soviet roots chases un sueño efímero.

“I’m not sure if I liked it,” my girlfriend admitted after the show as we hiked up Queen Anne to our car.  I shared her uncertainty. Cineastas was not a slow, predictable production, and as a contemporary piece, it did not need to subscribe to a typical theatrical package. Although this allowed for creative exploration, it did so in a foreign and overwhelming context. In an unfamiliar language and dialect, ten interwoven stories zig-zagged abruptly between the present and the imagined, posing a fast-paced intellectual and emotional challenge to the audience. Blink, and you’d miss a vital plot point—or at least an important  surtitle. 

Maybe more unnerving was the visceral energy that transcended the language barrier, the raw emotion that vibrated in the hearts of each audience member. Language, as it turns out, is not necessary to experience empathy. Pero la empatía—la empatía, como sueños, es efimera.