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.
"That it is not a science of production is clear even from the history of the earliest philosophers. For it is owing to their wonder that men both now begin and at first began to philosophise; they wondered originally at the obvious difficulties, then advanced little by little and stated difficulties about the greater matters, e.g. about the phenomena of the moon and those of the sun and of the stars, and about the genesis of the universe. And a man who is puzzled and wonders thinks himself ignorant (whence even the lover of myth is in a sense a lover of wisdom, for the myth is composed of wonders); therefore since they philosophised order to escape from ignorance, evidently they were pursuing science in order to know, and not for any utilitarian end. And this is confirmed by the facts; for it was when almost all the necessities of life and the things that make for comfort and recreation had been secured, that such knowledge began to be sought. Evidently then we do not seek it for the sake of any other advantage; but as the man is free, we say, who exists for his own sake and not for another's, so we pursue this as the only free science, for it alone exists for its own sake."