The Book of Judith

Experimental Narrative/Digital 4K/2015
Writer and Director: Alex Méndez Giner
Cast: Sandy Siquier, James A. Lee, Katya Martín, Kathleen Baum
Production Manager: Kara Herold
Cinematography: Alex Méndez Giner
Music and Sound Design: Breaking Waves
Editing: Alex Méndez Giner

Synopsis

A widow living on an isolated farm, has her life disrupted by a stranger. When the man lingers at the farm, Judith’s desire start to haunt her daily life.

Director's Statement

The film continues a long tradition of more than 110 paintings and sculptures of “Judith Beheading Holofernes.” In the mythological story, the beautiful widow Judith enters the tent of Holofernes, a marauding Assyrian general who is about to destroy her home. While he is inebriated, she decapitates him. My objective was to create an experimental narrative that penetrates the complex psychology of Judith’s character and sheds light on her personality.

The writing process was long and arduous, requiring analysis and interpretation not only of the Judith story but also other tales with similar archetypal characters. The idea was not to create a “faithful” adaptation, instead I set out to appropriate the meaning from prior texts and then combine my interpretations into a “new original.

The film places Judith in the present day on a farm in Central New York, where fantasy and sexual tension, conveyed through dreams and daydreams involving a stranger who arrives at her house, start to haunt her. The macabre conclusion plumbs a psychological depth: the story has taken place in Judith’s mind, all of it the culmination of her loneliness, desires, fears and sense of entrapment by her circumstances.

The finished film favors visual elements, using them as a stylistic exercise through which the story is conveyed. As with my previous work, it uses dialogue judiciously, relying primarily on the images themselves to relay the film’s purpose. The Book of Judith has the distinctive appeal of a “21st-century Judith,” drawing out contemporary obsessions rooted in an archetypal legend.

Festivals

  • Grand Prize Winner.  Snowtown Film Festival. USA 2018 

  • Blackbird Film Festival. USA 2018 

  • Author's International Film Festival FICAUTOR. Mexico 2017 

  • Music+Sound Awards 2017. United Kingdom 2017 Finalist Best Sound Design - Short Film Category 

  • 12th Buffalo Niagara Film Festival. USA 2017 

  • 19th Eskisehir International Film Festival. Turkey 2017 

  • Short Films From the World Festivals Program Alternative Film Festival. Canada 2017 

  • Best Cinematography Nominee SHORT to the Point Film Festival. January. Romania 2017 

  • 5th International Video Poetry Festival. Greece 2016 

  • 10th Buffalo International Film Festival. USA 2016 

  • 4th Venezuelan Film Festival in New York. USA 2016 9th Charlotte Film Festival. USA 2016 

  •  22nd San Giò Verona Video Festival, Best Cinematography Nominee. Italy 2016  

  • 16th Milan International Film Festival, Best Short Film, International Category Nominee. Italy 2016 . 

  • 37th Durban International Film Festival. South Africa 2016 

  • Spring Fest ’16 Syracuse International Film Festival. USA 2016 


Other Events and Exhibitions: 


  • Rochester Institute of Technology. School of Film and Animation. Artist Talk and Screening. Rochester 2019

  • University of Los Andes (Colombia). College of Arts and Humanities. Artist Talk and Screening. Bogotá 2018 

  • Pontifical Xaverian University (Colombia). College of Art. Master of Audiovisual Creation. Artist Talk and Screening. Bogotá 2018 

  • University of the Witwatersrand. The Wits School of Arts. Johannesburg, South Africa. Artist Talk and Screening. 2017 

  • Museum Santa Maria Della Scala in collaboration with the Siena Art Institute. Siena, Italy. Artist talk and Screening. 2017 

  • State University of New York. Department of Cinema & Screen Studies and Creative Writing. Artist talk and Screening. 2017 

  • Centro Cultural Chacao / Escuela Nacional de Cine de Venezuela. Caracas, Venezuela. Screening Session "Universo en Cortos." 2016 

  • Universidad Católica Andrés Bello, Caracas, Venezuela. Artist Talk and Screening. 2016 & 2020

  • Le Moyne College, Syracuse NY. Screening and Artist Talk. 2016 

  • National University of Laos, Vientiane. Artist Talk and Screening. 2016 University of Southern California. School of Cinematic Arts Events. Outside the Box [Office] USA 2016 

  • Short Film Corner Festival de Cannes. France 2016



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