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Film Festival
of Navarra
Film Festival
of Navarra

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Ellis Island

Country: USA
Year: 1981
Duration: 28'
Direction: Meredith Monk, Bob Rosen
Cinematographer: Jerry Pantzer
Editor: Bob Rosen
Sound: Dan Kinoy
Music: Meredith Monk
Production: John Bollinger, Susan Dowling, Bob Rosen


1982 Chicago International Film Festival / 2001 Hamptons International Film Festival / 2003 St. Petersburg Kinodance International Dance Film Festival / 2005 ERA New Horizons Film Festival

How to pronounce vacuum cleaner? A teacher shows the first notions of the new language in this small area of land surrounded by the sea. We are at the gateway to the new world and Serbs, Basques, Irish and Italians learn all together to say vacuum cleaner in English. The American dream is concentrated in these sounds and others which the artist, Meredith Monk, masterfully shows in her peculiar review of this island which brought tongues, half noses and deleted identities together. The film covers the place in circles so as not to ignore any of its corners. Recreations, dances in black and white, a guided tour in colour… up to the present day with something as metaphysical as a guard watching over emptiness. The ruins of the American dream are filmed by the gifted sound artist in conjunction with Bob Rosen.

Meredith Monk, Bob Rosen

(Lima, Peru, 1943)

Composer, singer, choreographer and filmmaker based in the United States. Pioneer of the "extended vocal technique" and the "interdisciplinary performance", she is the author of over eighty works that combine voice, movement and image. In 1964, she founded The House, a company dedicated to staging performances and in 1978, the Meredith Monk Vocal Ensemble, to mould her vocal compositions. In her discography, we can find references, such as Dolmen Music (1981), Turtle Dreams (1983) or Facing North (1992). In the field of opera, Atlas: an Opera in Three Parts (1991) can be highlighted and in experimental film, Ellis Island (1979) and Book of Days (1989). She has won numerous awards, such as two Guggenheim Fellowships, the Brandeis Creative Arts Award or the National Music Theatre Award.


Ellis Island (1982)
Book of Days (1989)

Promoted by
Gobierno de Navarra
Organized by
With the aid of
Con la financiación del Gobierno de España. Instituto de la Cinematografía y las Artes AudiovisualesAcción Cultural EspañolaPlan de Recuperación, Transformación y ResilienciaFinanciado por la Unión Europea. NexGenerationEU
With the support of
Ayuntamiento de PamplonaCentro de Arte Contemporáneo de HuarteFundación Caja NavarraGoethe InstitutCanadá InternationalCasa ÁrabeCineteca MadridAsociación de Mujeres Cineastas y de Medios AudiovisualesInstitut FrançaisEmbajada de Portugal en MadridCamões - Instituto da Cooperação e da Língua Portugal
Member of
PantallaIberofestLa MestaThe Red Balloon
Filmoteca de Navarra
Museo Oteiza
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola
Festival de Cine Africano FCAT
Festival Scope
Centre Cinématographique Marocain
Hotel Tres Reyes
Hotel Maisonave
Cineteca Bologna
The Film Foundation
World Cinema Project
Cinemateca Portuguesa
Radio 3
Filmoteca Española
Festivals in Navarre
Punto de Vista
NIFF - Navarra International Film Festival
Navarra, tierra de cine
Ópera Prima
CTL 59
#LabMeCrazy! Science Film Festival
Festival de Cine y Dentistas
Horror Online Art
FICBE (Festival Internacional de Cortos de Berriozar)
FAN, Festival de Anime de Navarra
Lo que viene
Muestra de cine español
Filmmaking for social change
Muestra Internacional de Cine y Mujeres de Pamplona

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