Program 7: Nina Fonoroff

The Accursed Mazurka, 1994

A series of stark, alienating, and desolate expressionistic images convey a sense of foreboding and dread as a scratched, narrative soundtrack (reminiscent of an early generation, low fidelity audio broadcast recording) presents an anonymous, paranoiac woman’s curious hypothesis that the onset of her psychological break from reality had been triggered by repeated exposure to the music of a Chopin mazurka. Tracing the evolution of the woman’s breakdown, institutionalization, and tenuous recovery through evocative imagery, sensorial layering, assembled monotonic audio excerpts, and quintessentially atemporal quaintness that obscures existential specificity, Nina Fonoroff creates a sublime, thematically dense, and richly textured collage on alienation, despair, psychological fracture, and modern day prescription panaceas.


The Eye of the Mask, 2004

Somewhere, a reclusive, obscured woman inexplicably begins to develop a growth on the side of her face that resembles a mask. Elsewhere, a man innately drawn to the tactileness and sensuality of objects pines for a woman whom he has never met, but still harbors a sense of shared intimacy with her through her photograph that, as the legend goes, had been etched directly from the rays of the sun without any human intervention. Unfolding as a strange and surreal gothic fairytale, The Eye of the Mask is a densely structured exposition on vanity, idealization, isolation, and illusion. Less expressionistic and more linear in narrative than The Accursed Mazurka, the film nevertheless retains Fonoroff’s familiar penchant for superimposed textures and densely layered baroque imagery, creating a sumptuous (albeit occasionally baffling) fractured tale of loss, longing, and enlightenment.

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