WITH CLOSED EYES by Mansur Madavi


"I allow things to take the time they need," is how Mansur Madavi, a native of Azerbaijan who now lives and makes his films in Vienna, describes his modus operandi.


The only aspect relating to time he was forced to consider during shooting of his latest work, With Closed Eyes, were the child stars of this poetic journey through the childhood memories of Lorenzo Montalabán. Of course, children tend to grow out of character during interruptions in shooting. Dashing ahead into life, they have no time to wait for Madavi's precise camera. Unfortunately, completion of With Closed Eyes was held up by the wait for funding, modest though it was. Madavi's films are manifestoes against fast-paced living and in support of uncompromising and consistent respect for artistic quality. Restrictions dictated by producers and the market are ignored as thoroughly as values which others attempt to impose on his work. The only important thing is the extent to which his ideas are realized on the screen.


His work is auteur film in its purest form: Madavi writes the screenplay, directs, operates the camera and produces, regardless of the time this requires, as solely authenticity is decisive. "My films tell stories in a kind of compressed realism which sometimes has a certain magical quality. Most people are no longer able to see magic," sums up Madavi. With Closed Eyes is a tale which unfolds between a dream world and reality: A remote village in the highland desert of Chile, a place apparently untouched by time and history, is changed by the Pinochet era. Madavi's rigorous view of filmmaking is matched by the clarity and purity of his images, which capture moments of tranquillity and the infinite on the silver screen.(ks)