J.P. Sniadecki: Two Films, A Decade Apart… 

J.P. Sniadecki: Two Films, A Decade Apart… 

In person: J.P. Sniadecki. 

In person: J.P. Sniadecki. 
A thinker, anthropologist, and filmmaker, J.P. Sniadecki works between the US and China, producing an incredible array of films that explore collective experience and the possibilities of cinema in the scope of sensory ethnography and observational filmmaking. In his films, Sniadecki employs cinematic techniques and an engaging narrative approach to help create idiosyncratic spaces between the filmmaker(s), subject, and audience, in which radically inquisitive and responsive senses and sympathetic sensibilities are allowed.   
Land, sky, and Sundog—a recluse who lives in the Sonora Desert and the central character compositions of A Shape of Things to Come (2020)—together construct a type of rhythmic pattern that humanely reminds the audience of the bleak truth about our fragile biological and intellectual capacities. In this collaboration co-directed with Lisa Marie Malloy, Sniadecki focuses an intimate lens on Sundog’s everyday life and his unpredictable characteristics, which are constantly recreated by the filmmakers and Sundog himself. In the Sonoran Desert, the idea of a harmony of nature is ironically challenged by the contradictions developed by a human being and traces of civilization—Sundog's resentment toward mainstream society, which harms and terrorizes the environment, brings him to this desolate nature, but his off-the-grid everyday life somewhat resembles the societal structure he dismisses. In this fascinating work, the complexities of undefinable relationships between humans and their surroundings (whether conventional society or vast nature) are candidly explored, showcasing poetic compositions of cinematography and soundscape.  
Following A Shape of Things to Come is Foreign Parts, Sniadecki’s 2010 collaboration feature with Verena Paravel. The film starts with a loud mechanical noise over the title text, followed by shots of a blue Chevrolet van being mercilessly dismantled by a mechanic from Willets Point, Queens (aka the Iron Triangle), where a community of auto body shops, salvage junkyards, and a small mom-and-pop bar/restaurant are run harmoniously along with residents who live on and/or off the neighborhood streets. Despite the significantly urgent matter (the city’s redevelopment/gentrification plan) hanging above their heads, the members of the Iron Triangle community steadily and zealously live their lives, fulfilling their daily functions and responsibilities. The sympathetic gaze of the camera and the filmmakers is modest and subjectively fair, portraying the stories of all characters encountered, including non-living ones such as car scraps, mud, and rain.  

Programmed and notes by Hyesung ii 

A Shape of Things to Come 
DIRECTORS: J.P. Sniadecki, Lisa Marie Malloy. 
2020. 77 min. USA. Color. English. DCP.  
Foreign Parts  
DIRECTORS: J.P. Sniadecki, Verena Paravel. 
2010. 80 min. USA/France. Color. English, Spanish, Hebrew. DCP.
Academy Museum film programming generously funded by the Richard Roth Foundation.

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