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Ism, Ism, Ism: Urban Harmonies/Dissonant Cities

Ism, Ism, Ism: Urban Harmonies/Dissonant Cities

Constitución (Constitution), by Melisa Aller

Friday-Sunday, October 2-4, 2020, All Day

Los Angeles Filmforum presents

Ism, Ism, Ism: Urban Harmonies/Dissonant Cities


Q&A on Sunday Oct 4, 7:30 pm PDT with co-curator Jesse Lerner and filmmakers Melisa Aller, Azucena Losana, Luis Soldevilla, and Juan Carlos Alom via Zoom!

More information:, (323) 377-7238

Tickets: Sliding scale, $0, $5, $8, $12, $20, via

Promotional Support for these online screenings from Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive; WNDX Festival of Experimental Film, Winnipeg; Experiments in Cinema, Albuquerque; Lightbox Film Center, University of the Arts, Philadelphia.

At the end of the silent era of cinema, there was an international cycle of films that depicted the nature of the modern city. These films, known as city symphonies or film symphonies, were edited as if following a musical score. The rhythm and succession of the images were immensely important for the filmmakers. In Latin America, some of the earliest experimental films participated in this cycle of city symphonies. For example, São Paulo: a Sinfonia da Metrópole (1929), by Rodolfo Rex Lustig and Adalberto Kemeny, and Humberto Mauro’s film-poem about his home town in Minas Gerais, Brazil, Sinfonia de Cataguases (1929). Ever since those early efforts many filmmakers have maintained a fascination with the city, as Latin American cities were transformed by unfettered growth, industrialization, and massive rural to urban migrations. This program offers a range of urban visions—some more celebratory, others more critical—of the architecture, daily life, public spaces, and transportation of cities such as Buenos Aires, Havana, Lima, Cali, Los Angeles, Santiago, and London.


Melisa Aller was born and lives in Buenos Aires (Argentina). She is an experimental filmmaker and visual artist. She studied Political Science at the Universidad of Buenos Aires and Filmmaking and Video in CIEVYC. She is specialist and teaches social, genre and feminist topics.  She has a postgraduate degree at Social Sciences Universidad of Buenos Aires. She also studied with the directors Claudio Caldini and Ernesto Baca. In recent years she has been spent working particularly in the super 8 format, filming and editing all on camera without any intervention from the digital. In 2015, she filmed her first feature film, called “Las Decisiones Formales”, edited in camera and chronologically using 22 rolls of film, which spliced together.

Juan Carlos Alom

The art of creating and interpreting images is akin to translating my spirit. My camera is the compass that guides me and I am grateful to it. Everywhere I have lived, I have delivered myself to light, shadows and to those details that, however minimal they may seem, have made me tremble and convert them into images.

I had hardly begun working as a photojournalist when the scarcity brought about by the Soviet Union’s collapse obliged me to experiment, shaping my artistic vision into one that is driven by precariousness, spontaneity and the necessity to focus on distinct themes such as Afro-Cuban religion, youth, longitude. Even more than those isolated themes, my idiosyncrasy, as both a filmmaker and photographer, entails the quest to document the impossible. For instance, in Habana solo, I begged to concretize the most intimate musical expression through my cinematographic images and to convert the city’s noises into music, but my persistent dissatisfaction with concretizing the impossible led to my photographic series entitled Dressing Room where photographs of musicians in “private” attempt to peak into the depths of their individual expression.

Azucena Losana: I was born in Mexico City in 1977. I live and work in Buenos Aires. I studied Multimedia Arts at the National University of Arts (UNA) in Argentina and Claudio Caldini's experimental film workshop. My work covers experimental cinema, installations and video. I am a fellow of the Sistema Nacional de Creadores del Arte del FONCA, Mexico.

Luis Soldevilla

Lima - Perú 1978. Masters in Media-Design from the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam-Holland. Degree in audiovisual production from the Facultad de Comunicaciones of the Universidad de Lima. Bachelors with a specialty in film and video from the same Facultad. Luis's work has a strong link with his academic training, cinema. He takes the cinematic language and fuses it with the expressive potential of space. In his installations, the physical aspect of the image functions as the backbone of the narrative, exploring various connotations of the landscape as a social portrait.


Habana Solo

Habana Solo

By Juan Carlos Alom

2000, 15 min, b&w, 16mm transferred to digital, Cuba

In Habana Solo some of the most important Cuban musicians from the most diverse musical tendencies of today, showing us the city in them and the city they inhabit with no other words than the music solos they improvise _ in solitary space and without restrictions, and we can see through the free lens of the camera, freedom based on undertaking the translation of the sounds of their music and the city’s, into an uninterrupted visual solo in which images concatenate each other, in the same way the musicians are composing in the real instant their improvised pieces, with the rhythmical and harmonical intensity of the music that happens, and with the same dose of abstraction _, making palpable the spirit of the city possessed by its musical sounds in the same proportion they sound, beat and visualize, with a texture that doesn’t betray its reality, possessed by her. -- Franklin J. Díaz

inutil paisagem3

Inùtil Paisagem

Inùtil Paisagem

By Louise Botkay

2010, 6 min, b&w, 16mm transferred to digital, Brazil

In a musical mood shifted and carried by the figure of Bob Estrela, a city and a girl blend into solitude in urban areas

At your heels

Azucena Losana

2017, 2:36 min, 16mm, color, sound, Argentina/Czech Republic

Machinery v2

Machinery No. 1 (Maquinaria No. 1)

Machinery No. 1 (Maquinaria No. 1)

By Luis Soldevilla

2011, 3 min, color, sound, video, Perú

This video explores - in an abstract way - the motion generated by machines that "carry away" the citizens and how this machine at the same time transport the necessary energy to keep the city´s vital flow. By means of combining the inner motion of the devices (ladders, trains an elevators) with an external motion (camera movements) these ideas of motion, energy and transportation acquire a new meaning, generating a sort of vertigo and the idea of no point or direction.

Melisa Aller CONSTITUCION fotograma 2 smaller

Constitución (Constitution)

Constitución (Constitution)

By Melisa Aller

2013, 4 min, b&w, sound, Super 8 transferred to digital, Argentina

No insides and outsides. The margins do not exist. Constitution is an intensive burst which does not seek individuals and forms, but seeks the different speeds and slownesses. Immanence. Distributing the affects, the intensities. There is no difference in the artificial from the natural. Because, the important is to know what a body is able to afford in a way of life.

Despedida Farewell football field v2

Despedida (Farewell)

Despedida (Farewell)

By Alexandra Cuesta

2013, 10 min, color, sound, 16mm transferred to digital, Ecuador/USA

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 tableaux gather a portrait of place and compose a goodbye letter to an ephemeral home.

La Poubelle FEhrenberg0810HPc v2

La Poubelle

La Poubelle

By Felipe Ehrenberg

1970, 16 min, color, sound, video transferred to digital, México

La Poubelle a film by Felipe Ehrenberg about his garbage walks around London at the time of the strikes in 1970

Cali de película

Luis Ospina y Carlos Mayolo

1973, 13 min., color, sound, 16mm projected as digital archive, Colombia.