Convento [Philadelphia]
Feature Documentary

Sunday Jul 31, 2011
9:00Q&A w/ director Jarred Alterman & artist Christiaan Zwaniiken

The Piazza at Schmidt's
In the Piazza at the center of Schmidt\'s
Northern Liberties
Germantown Ave & N 2nd St, Philadephia, PA 19123
Take the MFL Subway to Girard Station or the #15 Trolley to Girard Station at Girard & Front


This Show Presented in Partnership With
The Awesome Fest

Rooftop's free outdoor screenings in Philadelphia continue with the Awesome Fest. We reprise our successful screening of Jarred Alterman's documentary "Convento," plus an accompanying installation at Jinxed Gallery of the robo-animal sculpture installations by Christiaan Zwanikken.


Convento (Jarred Alterman | Portugal | 52 min.)
Two fox skulls rise on spindly necks to dance and fight. Nearby in the chirping woods, a woman gathers her laundry, seemingly oblivious. A metal beetle whirrs and clicks, scaring a curious bird into fissure. A monastery in ruins is resurrected as a palace of ingenuity, as much in harmony with nature as it is incongruous within it.

Built 400 years ago, the convent on a cliff is now home to Geraldine Zwanikken and her sons Christiaan and Louis. The family settled here to find and forge a new wellspring of creativity. Christiaan has tapped the well literally, building a robotic donkey which walks an endless circle, lifting water to compound’s highest point, to trickle down and nurture Geraldine’s garden. The art is ghastly but gorgeous, an homage to the boys’ childhood donkey, and to all working animals and clever machines. Made out of modern scrap machinery but referencing eternal truths about the history and nature of animal life, this piece, like all of Christiaan’s work, like the convent, is a glorious contradiction, an object at odds with itself.

Director Jarred Alterman revels in the Zwanikkens’ poetic paradoxes. Lusciously photographed, intricately edited, delicately constructing a soundscape that mixes the sounds of the hills with the noises of a science fiction film set in Medieval times, Convento is a delightful immersion in the sun-dusted scrubland,
in the crumbling walls of the ancient building, in Christiaan’s Frankenstein lab, revealing a unique vision of existence.

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Rooftop Films is a New York based non-profit whose mission is to engage diverse communities by showing independent movies in outdoor locations, producing new films, coordinating youth media education, and renting equipment at low cost to artists.

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