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Top 20 Alternative Picks for TIFF 2013: Ben Rivers & Ben Russell’s A Spell To Ward Off The Darkness

Ben Rivers & Ben Russell – A Spell To Ward Off The Darkness

Section: Wavelengths
Times: Saturday 7th, Monday 9th, Sunday 15th

Buzz: It’s very possible you’ve never heard of either of the pair of outsider artists that helmed this genre blending docu-odyssey, but for those in the know, directors Ben Rivers and Ben Russell seem a match made in heaven. Both yearn for the alchemy of film as a developers medium. Both bend the non-fiction form into the free-wheeling realm of avant-garde as true DIY artists. Both find solace on the fringes, either filming a hermit in the backwoods of the Scottish Highlands, as in Rivers’ Two Years at Sea, or individuals on spiritual journeys the world over in Russell’s self-dubbed ‘psychedelic ethnography’ series, Trypps. Their collaboration looks to have melded their best qualities and strewn them across the Scandinavian periphery, from communes to black metal and back again. This is a journey I am aching to take.

The Gist: A Spell to Ward off the Darkness is an inquiry into the possibilities of a spiritual existence within an increasingly secular Western culture. Set in Norway, this creative documentary depicts a single character at three disparate moments in his life.

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