Asylum, (the)

Saskia Vredeveld "THE ASYLUM (2013) is a powerful metaphor for the relationship between mankind and animals. The film narrative is shot in an environment that mirrors the strange, complex and surrealistic world of Roger Ballen. A man, a woman and a child are looking for a refuge in a disconsolate world of concrete. They have lost their ability to communicate with each other and the self-chosen refuge gradually turns out to a place where people and animals are condemned to live with each other. MEMENTO MORI (2005/12) is a compelling visual experience that parallels Roger Ballens award winning photography book Shadow Chamber. Filmed in a darkened space it is not clear whether we are encountering the insane, imprisoned or if we are in a fictional environment. The viewer is left guessing about this world and questioning their own psyche, the dark and even the lighter side. Both movies have been shot in an uncompromising black & white film square format, and the characters in the films are people from the social underclass of Johannesburg. The DVD includes a documentary and an interview recorded in Johannesburg with Roger Ballen in 2012. SELFPORTRAIT (2002) is a documentary produced for the Netherlands Broadcasting Company documenting Ballens development as a photographer in South Africa from 1982-2002. Much of the film is shot where Ballen photographed South Africas poor whites, a class that remained hidden and was assumed not to exist. Ballens photographs are included in the collection of some of the most prestigious museums in the World; and he is widely considered to be one of the most important photographers of our time." 163 min., Engels, 2012, Nederland

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