Off Power

Théodora Barat
22.03.12 → 22.03.17

Centre Pompidou
Selected in the official competition - French selection of Cinéma du Réel, Théodora Barat presents OFF POWER (2021, 17 min), a film created as part of Micromégas, a cross-media art residency between France and Hong Kong.

An analysis of Hong Kong’s urban development through its electrical infrastructure slowly tipping into science fiction. A mysterious phenomenon forces a blackout, plunging Hong Kong into complete darkness.

Something vibrates, buzzes, crackles beneath the surface of seemingly ordinary images of Hong Kong. Something pulsates, rather. That would be the right word since the film’s opening title designates electricity, the subject here, as the ‘lifeblood of modern societies.’ Thus, Off Power takes on the role of a naturalist’s eye (especially its ear) observing the infrastructure of this territory, one of the most densely populated in the world. Deep within the landscape, the image soon reveals a presence as subtle as the crackling rumor: three colossal chimneys, three gaping arteries amidst the mist. This is the heart, the origin of electrical pulsations: the power plant, repeatedly relocated, responsible for Hong Kong’s ceaseless neon flicker, planted since 1982 amid the pristine nature of Lamma Island. Precisely: what if the flickering ceased? Here, the film, always guided by its ear, gently shifts its observational stance towards a science fiction scenario, implying a reinterpretation of the sonic intuition: the pulsation was more of a swarming. The film that begins henceforth could be titled, akin to a B-movie from the atomic age: L’Invasion des fourmis électriques. What better image, indeed, to express how electricity, in Hong Kong as elsewhere, has slowly colonized life? And to dream, in the wake of this long nightmare, a symmetrical reverie: a world liberated from its neon lights, all buzzing silenced, returned to its darkness and silence?

Jérôme Momcilovic

The Cinéma du Réel is an annual international festival of ethnographic and sociological films, organized by the Public Information Library of the Pompidou Center, established in 1979 with the aim of promoting documentary filmmaking. The festival blends documentary, essay, and experimentation in selections that reflect the diversity of genres and cinematic approaches to the world. This makes it one of the few documentary film festivals that emphasize the heritage and memory of the genre while engaging with contemporary creation. A nurturer of emerging talents, Cinéma du Réel is equally attentive to established filmmakers, showcasing their latest works alongside older films. The festival has played a significant role in introducing many directors onto the international stage, many of whom are now well-known to the general public.

Micromégas is supported by the French Institute and co-organized by the Consulate General of France in Hong Kong and Macao, K11 Art Foundation, Videotage, and the cneai =. Hong Kong artist Kingsley Ng will, in turn, be welcomed for a residency at the cneai =.

Théodora Barat engages in a multidisciplinary practice spanning from film to sculpture and photography. She explores changing environments, focusing on those pivotal moments where the artificial landscape transforms into a symbol. Delving into the figures of modernity, she dissects its illusions to question our future. Her work has been showcased at the Centre Pompidou, cneai =, Nuit Blanche, Friche Belle de Mai, K11 – Musea (Hong Kong), Emily Harvey Foundation, and Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts (New York), CAC Vilnius (Lithuania), as well as in numerous international festivals. Théodora Barat was a resident at the Villa Medici - Rome from 2021 to 2022.

Saturday, March 12th, 1:50 PM, Centre Pompidou - Cinema 1
Tuesday, March 15th, 6:30 PM, FDI 300
Thursday, March 17th, 4:00 PM, Bulac

{Consultat Général de France à Hong-Kong} {K 11 - Art Foundation} {Videotage} {Cinéma du réel}

{Cinéma du réel}