At the heart of Naomi Uman’s handmade experimental portraits and ethnographies are the folk traditions of the rural women in her host communities. Maintaining her vulnerability by not hiding her face, biases, or active participation behind the camera, Uman explores the intimacy of these women’s lives and joins their day-to-day activities, her camera focused on repetitive manual practices, agrarian ways of living, women’s work, and the intersection of ethnography, portraiture, and self-portraiture. Growing out of her previous work in Ukraine and Mexico, three sparks depicts life in northern Albania where the traditional canonica laws of the Kanun rule society. A trilogy-in-one, it begins as a meditation on Uman’s relationship with the country and an unwanted personal sacrifice that imbues her film with mythic, metaphysical implications. three sparks unfolds as a portrayal of village life and women’s gender roles before concluding with a self-reflexive video piece made in collaboration with the villagers, in a final abrupt shift.
In Albanian and English with English subtitles
95 min. DCP
“As an outsider, working and travelling alone, I had the chance to learn from everyone I met. This flipped the typical power dynamic of a filmmaker, possessing the camera and the tools for editing, who usually has full control. I felt like a child, awestruck and open-eyed, vulnerable.”
"Each segment of three sparks differs from the last, as each fold in its structure enacts a humble gesture of revolt, collapsing dissimilar voices, experiences, and aesthetics into a quicksilver vision of collective being."
Nicolas Pedrero-Setzerre, Screen Slate