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Head in Flames (English)
Main screening room
May 31st, 2024
56 min
Symposium XP

For this latest edition of the experimental film symposium, we offer a retrospective of a major American filmmaker (Henry Hills, in attendance), provide updates on current female production, accompany director Christian Lapointe in his first experience with radical cinema, host musician Sam Shalabi, and present two forgotten classics, one of which is a newly restored version that we have just completed.

Followed by a conversation with Christian Lapointe, filmmaker and Lance Olsen, author of the Head in flames book

Head in Flames
Directed by
Christian Lapointe
56 min

In 2004, while pedaling on his bike, filmmaker Theo van Gogh, the great-nephew of the famous Dutch painter, was killed in a cold blood street in Amsterdam by Mohammed Bouyeri. The murderer attacked him in retaliation for the film Submission that he directed, written by Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

In 2009, the American author Lance Olsen wrote a book (Head in flames) featuring three voices: the murderer, the director and the painter Vincent Van Gogh, in an oratorio connecting these three figures. The author shows the painter just before his suicide and the other two characters at the time of the murder. The writer uses quotations from the three men to put into perspective the culture of violence that all intolerance generates. Using a deepfake device, Christian Lapointe gives substance to Olsen's score and "resurrects" the protagonists in an experimental film in which he embodies these highly divisive historical figures himself.

Head in Flames

Christian Lapointe

Christian Lapointe is a Quebecois director, playwright, artistic director, actor, and educator. Initially known for directing works by Irish writer William Butler Yeats, he is also recognized as the author of a series of plays grouped as Cycle de la disparition. He is the founder of Théâtre Péril and the artistic director of Théâtre Carte Blanche. Over time, he established himself as a moving figure in Quebec theater. Following the symbolist movement, the writing of his shows borrows from performance art, is conceived from and around scenic devices and sometimes uses video installations. He is the creator of a pedagogical methodology centered on the thickening of the presence on stage by the modulation of scenic positioning within the framework of actoral theatrical practice. Particular attention is paid to the relationship between stage and hall and reality and fiction. In 2024, he continues to express his interest for hyperreality in contemporary art by creating an experimental film using this technique, Head in flames, adapted from American author Lance Olsen's book.