Patrick Bokanowski again


“A prolonged, dense and visually visceral experience of the kind that is rare in cinema today. Difficult to define and locate, its strangeness is quite unique. That its elements are not constructed in a traditional way should not be a barrier to those who wish to cross the bridge to what Jean-Luc Godard proposed as the real story of the cinema—real in the sense of being made of images and sounds rather than texts and illustrations.”—Keith Griffiths

It was only two months ago that I enthused about Patrick Bokanowski’s extraordinary 1982 film, L’Ange, after a TV screening was posted at Ubuweb, and ended by wondering whether a DVD copy was available anywhere. Last week Jayne Pilling left a comment on that post alerting me to the film’s availability via the BAA site; I immediately ordered a copy which arrived the next day. So yes, Bokanowski’s film is now available in both PAL and NTSC formats, and the disc includes a short about the making of L’Ange as well as preparatory sketches and an interview with composer Michèle Bokanowski whose score goes a long way to giving the film its unique atmosphere. I mentioned earlier how reminiscent Bokanowski’s film was of later works by the Brothers Quay so it’s no surprise seeing an approving quote from the pair on the DVD packaging:

“Magisterial images seething in the amber of transcendent soundscapes. Drink in these films through eyes and ears.”

If that wasn’t enough, there’s another DVD of the director’s short films available. Anyone who likes David Lynch’s The Grandmother or Eraserhead, or the Quays’ Street of Crocodiles, really needs to see L’Ange.

Previously on { feuilleton }
L’Ange by Patrick Bokanowski
The Hourglass Sanatorium by Wojciech Has
Babobilicons by Daina Krumins
Impressions de la Haute Mongolie revisited
Short films by Walerian Borowczyk
The Brothers Quay on DVD

4 thoughts on “Patrick Bokanowski again”

  1. Hi John,

    I’m always glad to hear it when stuff shown in crappy quality on Ubu prompts someone to purchase a DVD of it. Ubu, in all its honorable degradation, should never be confused with the real thing :)


  2. Hi Kenneth. Crappy quality or no, I’m very glad you did post it. Otherwise I might have had to wait a lot longer to discover Bokanowski’s work.

  3. There is also a DVD with two documentaries by Bokanowski available from Re:Voir ( Visually they are done in a pretty conventional way (compared to all other films by Bokanowski.) For a variety of reasons I would recommend them however to anyone who’s interested in Bokanowski’s work in general.

    A lengthy interview with Bokanowski is in Scott MacDonald’s “Critical Cinema 3.” An article (9 pages) by Bokanowski can be found in “Aurora 2008 – The Infinite Measure.” Both publications should be still available.

    Not much material considering Bokanowski’s unique films and his long “career”…

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