Monday, October 7, 2013

10/9/13 Alexandra Cuesta


Recordando El Ayer, 2007

16mm, black and white reversal, sound, RT 9:00

Shot in Queens, NY in 2004

Memory and identity are observed through textures of everyday life in a portrait of Jackson
Heights, home to a large Latin American immigrant population. Images of street, people, and daily
rituals render passing of time in a neighborhood that becomes a mirror not just of another place,
but also of the past. The landscape visually reflects the space as a creation of a new home while
revealing displacement within the new condition. The meaning of home is explored and built upon
collective recollection.

Beirut 2.14.05, 2008

16mm, color and black and white, sound, RT 8:00

Shot in Beirut, Lebanon during the filming of Ca Sera Beau, From Beyrouth with Love by Wael

Synopsis by Verena Teissl – Viennale Programmer

During the shooting of From Beyrouth With Love (Wael Nourredine, 2005), Alexandra Cuesta
captured her impressions of Beirut between strangeness and rapprochement, using a handheld
camera. The images are indirect and unsettled: reflections in the rain or through display windows,
a view out of a moving car window. Cuesta captures and edits these images into fragments with
the certainty of a dream. The menace of war resonates in her images without taking on form.
Beirut 2.14.05 is both honest and masterly, a miniature at the roots of poetry, where the palpable
echoes the visible.

Piensa En Mí, 2009

16mm, color, sound, RT 15:00


Moving from east to west and back, the windows of a bus frame fleeting sections of urban
landscape. Throughout the day, images of riders, textures of light and fragments of bodies in space
come together to weave a portrait in motion; a contemplative meditation on public transport
in the city of Los Angeles. Isolation, routine and everyday splendor, create the backdrop of this
journey, while the intermittent sounds of cars construct the soundscape.

Despedida, 2013

16mm color, sound, RT 9:53


Shot in Boyle Heights in East Los Angeles, this transitory neighborhood resonates with the poetry
of local resident Mapkaulu Roger Nduku. Verses about endings, looking and passing through open
up the space projected. A string of tableaus gather a portrait of place and compose a goodbye
letter to an ephemeral home.

Alexandra Cuesta is a filmmaker and artist whose work emerges from the public sphere. Departing
from traditions of street photography and city film her work explores constructions of space and
structures of time. Her images often comment on displacement and cultural diaspora. Her primary
medium is 16mm film.

Her first film Recordando El Ayer was shot in Queens, NY, and was shown at the New York Film
Festival – Views of the Avant-Garde. Since then her films have screened at festivals, venues and
museums around the world which include Viennale, Anthology Film Archives, Centre Pompidou,
BFI London Film Festival, Courtisane Film Festival, Museo de Bellas Artes, Queens Museum of
Art, Yebizu International Festival of Art and Alternative Media in Tokyo, Habana Film Festival, Los
Angeles Filmforum, among many others. She received the prize for Best Cinematography at the
 51st Ann Arbor Film Festival, a Jury Award at the 48th Festival at the Media City Film Festival, and was included as one of the ‘”25 Filmmakers for the 21st Century” in Film Comment’s Avant-Garde Poll.

She has an MFA from CalArts and was based in Los Angeles for many years. She recently returned
to Ecuador, her country of origin, where she was the recipient of the National Film Grant and is
completing her first feature film País Invisible.