7.4/10
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Convento (2010)

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A Dutch family left Holland to transform a 400 year old monastery into a home, artist's workshop, and nature preserve. Filmed entirely in remote village in Portugal, Convento bends the ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Christiaan Zwanikken ...
Himself
Geraldine Zwanikken ...
Herself
Louis Zwanikken ...
Himself
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Storyline

A Dutch family left Holland to transform a 400 year old monastery into a home, artist's workshop, and nature preserve. Filmed entirely in remote village in Portugal, Convento bends the rigid structure of documentary filmmaking, blurring the lines of information and surrealism Featuring the renowned kinetic artist Christiaan Zwanikken and his family. Written by Michael Budinger

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A 400 year old monastery restored from ruins, and reborn.

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Documentary

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Release Date:

28 April 2011 (USA)  »

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Budget:

$75,000 (estimated)
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User Reviews

 
An artistically beautiful little documentary
20 June 2011 | by (Edinburgh, Scotland, UK) – See all my reviews

Convento is about a family of Dutch artists who live in an old monastery in Portugal. The film departs from the usual documentary approach and effectively operates as an art film in itself. The three central characters are only briefly sketched out; the main factor in the film is in capturing the location and the feel. Because the location is really quite bizarre and unique in the first place. Christian Zwanikken, one of the members of this family, has created an assortment of strange animated art works. They constitute of parts from dead animals, motorised by components conjoined to them. Sometimes they have odd aural accompaniments too. These weird creatures are by turns surreal and grotesque. What director Jarred Alterman has done here is to bring these strange components together and along with some ambient sounds has made a truly meditative piece of cinema. The film does not explain these people's motivations particularly, or look into their past very deeply. Instead it captures a feeling.

This is a quite beautifully photographed and sound-tracked documentary film. It will appeal much more to those who appreciate visual artistry though. Although some may find the mechanised dead animals quite disturbing. I found them to be consistently fascinating though, and the overall meditative tone of the piece was quite evocative at times. Definitely left-field but if you like it that way then give Convento a try.


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