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This summer at Kunstnernes Hus ☀️
Open today 11-17 (Restaurant 11-22)

The Invisible Mountain

Special screening: Digital conversation with director Ben Russell and Mats Christian Rude Halvorsen
Tuesday 06.06.23

Ben Russell's latest feature film is a unique psychedelic portrait of a man who travels from Finland to Greece in the search of the utopian mountain described in Renè Daumal's novel "Mount Analogue" from 1952, which is about a fictional mountain floating in the ocean.

After the screening there will be a digital conversation with the director Ben Russell and filmmaker Mats Christian Rude Halvorsen.

About the film

The Invisible Mountain is a hybrid film, combining documentary, concert video, road movie and a spiritual journey, and accompanied by hallucinatory musical performances by the Finnish guitar duo Olimpia Splendid and the American percussionist Greg Fox.

Through a mixture of landscape and psychedelia, the film follows Russell and his protagonist Tuomo Touvinen as they embark on a great journey from Finland through Belarus, searching for the invisible mountain from Renè Daumal's surrealist novel. The long stretches are constantly interrupted by recordings from the aforementioned experimental noise band, as well as from Russell himself. He suddenly starts doubting Tuomo's project, questioning him on its origins, and begins to suspect Daumal's premature death as a bad omen.

About the filmmaker

Ben Russell (b. 1976, USA) is a media artist and curator whose films, installations, and performances foster a deep engagement with the history and semiotics of the moving image. Formal investigations of the historical and conceptual relationships between early cinema, visual anthropology, and structuralist filmmaking result in immersive experiences concerned at once with ritual, communal spectatorship and the pursuit of a “psychedelic ethnography.”

A 2008 Guggenheim Fellow and 2010 FIPRESCI award recipient for his feature film Let Each One Go Where He May, Ben Russell began the Magic Lantern screening series in Providence, Rhode Island, was co-director of the artist-run space Ben Russell in Chicago, toured with film/ video/ performance programs world-wide and performed in a double-drum trio called BEAST.

The screening is a part of a program series focusing on artistic innovations within ethnographic film, which will include screenings and conversations in the cinema, as well as commissioned essays and program on KH Home Cinema.
This series is supported by the Norwegian Film Institute and Fritt Ord.

Ben Russell's short film Against Time (2022) is available for streaming here.

Read Kenneth Moe's essay on Russell and “psychedelic ethnography" here (in Norwegian only).

About the moderator

Mats Christian Rude Halvorsen (b. 1991) is a documentary filmmaker and photographer from Telemark. His documentaries Nocturnal Journey (2020), Modern Speed (2023), and the upcoming film about the thrash metal band DEATHHAMMER explore the themes of growing up, memories and dedication. Modern Speed will be screened at Vienna Shorts and the Norwegian Film Short Film Festival this year. Currently he's completing his film DEATHHAMMER, as well as working on his feature film that's in development.

See also