CPH:DOX 2018: STAR BY JOHAN LURF

This entry was posted on March 23rd, 2018

Johann Lurf’s found footage film Star, in the own style of its author, could be read as a structural essay about cinematic experience and it’s influences in our visual imaginary conscience. This film remind me of what Alexander Kugle’s describes in his book “120 cinema stories”, about the relationship paleolithic men might had with the night sky full of stars, as an spectacle of cinematic light, that are an analogy for cinematic experience. The stars are made of gas, and the light they irradiates have traveled to earth for 4 years at least, so what we get to see is a kind of projection of something that is in constant movement and it’s already gone. Doesn’t sound familiar to what we experience in a movie theater?

Instead of just embarking us in a voyage through space, Lurf composes a visual and sound rhythmic mosaic that reveals the diverse version of our galaxy through out the years. We start with celluloid artisan representations of constellations, to then experience modern representations that are related to science fiction and scientific researches. We get invited to examine the spectrum of our imaginary about the Universe we live in, and how it have been built through different audiovisual productions. The sound composition plays an important role, since some of the images could be recognized by the dialogues and the music that Lurf decided to keep but with a design.

The richness and beauty of this film resides in the mirror it becomes to our imagination as a main source for our conscience, and how cinema have shaped human being’s mind and our historical archive. As a technology, its evolution obviously influenced our galaxy’s simulacrum, and the special effects have tried to create an extra-terrestrial experience. The size of the movie theater screen projection and the new digital formats, present a wider image that embraces our eyes and bodies. Is interesting how Lurf decides to play with those changes too, as an index of our new conscience, by comparing the different ones we could find until now. Likewise, the distinction is not only based in the new technologies that surround us, but is also showed culturally. During the film, on can recognize descriptions in Japanese, German, English, etc., and pay attention to the differences between them, and also measure when an image is related more to science than to fiction cinema. Star is more a social and historical essay film than only a galactic cinematic experience.

Found footage movies could be sources for a mediation of the different significations that  human beings have developed through out the time since the invention of cinematic moving images. The archive work that it implies, is of historical relevance too. Lurf’s work stands out for his focus in the mainstream film found footage as well, as unmistakable influences in our life, and as the most popular conceptions for the experience of cinema.

Director:  Johann Lurf
Country: Austria
Year: 2017
Duration: 90 min