Black Magic Cannot Cross Water

Black Magic Cannot Cross Water

Various, 87 Minutes | 4pm | Saturday 29 June at UQ Art Museum

Conceived around ethnography’s prurient interest in magic and unreason, Black Magic Cannot Cross Water presents four constructed iterations of group ritual from the revealing falseness-on-falseness of cannibal mondo to the self-realising fantasy of Song X. Black Magic Cannot Cross Water is the second of three film programs in conjunction with UQ Art Museum’s Second Sight: Witchcraft, Ritual, Power exhibition.

Hollow Jungle
Conor Bateman | 2019, 10m
Somewhere between Sri Lanka and the island of New Guinea, in the upper reaches of the Amazonia jungle, there is rumoured to be a lost tribe of cannibals. Assembled out of Italo cannibal mondo movies, Cinephagia documents their rituals, sourcing their power in narrative repetitions and analogies, before structurally locating them in the prurient pathologies of certain pseudo-ethnographies.
Courtesy of Conor Bateman
Supported by the UQ Art Museum

The Masked Monkeys
OJOBOCA | 2015, 30m
A satire of spiritualism and ethnographic filmmaking, The Masked Monkeys studies not the Javanese wayang topeng (masked arts), but their burlesque street iteration performed by trained monkeys. A space opens up between the high referential language and the gutter charms of the anthropoids, letting through a radiance that takes us to where shadows, dreams and death wait.
Courtesy of OJOBOCA

Scorpio Rising
Kenneth Anger | 1963, 28m
An army of queer bikers prepare themselves to the sounds of ballads and rock. Anger makes their rituals explicit through patterning and the intercutting of sexual and sadistic symbols, as their engines roar their way to orgiastic pleasure and sacrifice.
Courtesy of the NFSA

Song X
Pathompon Mont Tesprateep | 2017, 19m
An army deserter awakes to discover that his body is lays lifelessly on the ground. He embarks on this new journey where he encounters a group of teenagers who intend to give him a cremation ceremony while, at the same time, his dead body is being searched by a military patrol.
Composed in tribute to a recently deceased childhood friend whose cremation ceremony the director missed, Song X re-enacts this ceremony, extending it through the trance-like power of film, and shooting it on expired black-and-white stock whose deterioration echoes the passing of life.
Courtesy of Pathompon Mont Tesprateep


Unrated 18+

This free three-part film program—Spellbound—examines magic as a form of agency. Preparation Rituals explores magic as performance, and performance as control of oneself or others. Black Magic Cannot Cross Water presents four constructed iterations of group ritual. And Stones Have Laws presents two works of shared-ethnography in which the Saramaccan Maroon people of Suriname enact how they live within the forest—amidst rocks and rivers—demonstrating their procedures for consulting ancestors, gods and forest spirits.

The first two screenings begin at 2pm and 4pm respectively, while Stones Have Laws begins at 6:30pm with an introduction from anthropologist Kim de Rijke, and is accompanied by wine and soup.

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