by Maja Borg, featuring Nadya Cazan
Some years ago, during the 4th Berlin International Directors Lounge, we had the pleasure to screen the film Ottica Zero, by Swedish filmmaker Maja Borg with Team Directors Lounge member Nadya Cazan as the female lead.
Nadya Cazan's unapologetic nature is surprisingly the sort of attitude that Madison Avenue tends to co-opt for commodification purposes. She's beautiful, cool, enchanting and she doesn't seem to need much. If I saw her in a commercial for perfume or yogurt, I would probably immediately go out and buy some. In the film Ottica Zero, Swedish filmmaker Maja Borg relies heavily on the muse like qualities of Nadya Cazan. The film is half biography, half futurist fantasy. Nadya is (or plays) a woman who was on the brink of major commercial success when she turns her back on the star system ('I didn't want to make anything that had no purpose,' she says) to live as an ascetic amongst modern society. She does not touch money. She wears a Muslim-style body covering. She lives on kosher food and fish heads. As Nadya speaks about her past and what has led her to her present, their is a second monologue from a 90 year-old futurist (can somebody say oxymoron) who has dedicated the rest of his life to offering an alternative resource based economy. No more money and all the messy social strife that goes along with it. In his Utopian vision, people would trade useful resources for other useful resources and we would all be free from judgement.
The film is breathtakingly beautiful. Borg captures Cazan as some sort of modern day Alice in Wonderland and asceticism hasn't looked this good since Carl Dreyer's The Passion of Joan of Arc. Somehow these three films orbit each other in their relationship to judgement, consumerism and the feminine ideal and I suspect beauty is at the heart of this constellation.
Now, the follow up, Future My Love is shortly before it´s world-premiere at Edinburgh International Film Festival, 21st of June 2012
Future My Love is a unique love story challenging our collective and personal utopias in search of freedom.
At the brink of losing the idealistic love of her life, filmmaker Maja Borg takes us on a poetic road trip through the financial collapse, exploring a radically different economic and social model proposed by 95-year-old futurist Jacque Fresco. How much freedom are we prepared to give to the ones we love? And how much responsibility are we ready to take for our society?
“I have always been an outlier and I don’t see myself as primarily an actress. Neither am I an activist or a visionary like Jacque Fresco, whom I admire with all my heart. I am something without a name. My hope is to be a catalyst for positive change, and so I choose to engage in a different way than the one expected of me by my society.”
Carefully weaving a texture of archive footage, black and white Super 8 film, and colour HD, Borg poignantly depicts the universal struggle between our heads and hearts in times of big change.
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