Lucile Desamory, ABRACADABRA 2013, film still
Lucile Desamory, ABRACADABRA 2013, film still

ABRACADABRA

Lucile Desamory, Belgium, Germany and France, 2013, Blu-ray, 78 min

The films of Lucile Desamory (born 1977, Brussels) draw on cinematic conventions that evoke the early experiments of genre film, with images humorously juxtaposed and characters slightly removed from reality.

ABRACADABRA 2013 is Desamory’s first feature length film and brings together an array of characters set within a story of mystery and intrigue. The film centres on a reporter named Damien, who after winning a scrabble game, is visited by a ghost. He follows her into the dark streets of Brussels until he reaches the closed gates of a big building. The next day, Damien returns to find out more about this location and meets the inhabitants: three mysterious women forming something between a Christian commune and a secret society. They invite him in for supper. He’s never coming back out.

Desamory began filmmaking in 1997 with the short slapstick movie Crachat. Since then her practice evolved from minimal horror (Vandales et Vampires) 1999, L’infirmière cannibale 2000) to stop-motion animation (À l’ombre de l’hyperboloide 2004, Haut les Coeurs 2007). Her films have been shown internationally in art and film institutions including the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Cinémathèque Française in Paris, the ICA, Barbican Art Centre, British Film Institute in London, and the Palais des Beaux Arts and Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique in Brussels.

Desamory’s collaborations with musicians and artists such as Kevin Blechdom, Nicholas Bussmann, Luke Fowler, and Birgit Megerle, have become a prominent feature in her work. She also makes collages of figures in domestic settings, using fabric for its ‘psychic, historic and sexual resonance’. In ABRACADABRA she continues her collaboration with the artist Lucy McKenzie, who stars in the film and whose series of trompe l’œil paintings serve as backdrops for imagined scenarios. These works, alongside stills of the film, were recently exhibited at Tate Modern in A Bigger Splash: Painting after Performance.

This screening is followed by a discussion between the director Lucile Desamory, artist Lucy McKenzie and Tate curators Catherine Wood (Contemporary Art and Performance) and Stuart Comer (Film).

Tate Film is supported by Maja Hoffmann / LUMA Foundation.