By Claudia Siefen*
Fade-in, fade-out. Do you remember those early cuts, that were made in the camera. This kind of editing could allow for some early special effects. In earlier movies he made at the turn of the century, Georges Méliès for example stops the camera after detonating a magic puff of smoke in front of his actor, then begins the camera again after the actor has left the stage, and has so magically vanished. Fade-in and fade-out is still used to describe a transition to and from a blank image. Hidden Tracks by Karin Fisslthaler pays tribute to that technique. A dissolve overlaps two shots for the duration of the effect, usually at the end of one scene and the beginning of the next, but may be used in montage sequences also. Generally, but not always, the use of a dissolve is held to indicate that a period of time has passed between the two scenes. What will happen if you simply put them one after another? It is all about the rhythm, and about the literary quality as well, as film and cinema still seem to rest upon those two pillars.
Famous photographer and filmmaker Friedl vom Gröller shows again her sharp eye and satiric will to combine pictures and their meanings, bringing them together in a a littly city trip, In Rom, in 16mm of course. The viewing angles are dominated here by the architecture of Castel Sant´Angelo and its stonework. The mausoleum gets combined with fragments of Gröller’s male travel companion: his shoulder, belt buckle, his right ear or his close neck evoke a sense of unexpected tenderness, brought together here in architecture and a beloved human being. Until the back view of a statue closes the film, carefully leaving the smell of a man and the haptic perception of dust.
Again one will not be disappointed by Lukas Marxt, in cooperation with Jakub Vrba, and his next film on “his topic“, Wunderschön und ruhig gelegen. The relationship between the spectator and his surroundings, but this time it all will find its place within “mother nature”. Marxt is looking for a language of the green wide meadow, and transforms even here the concrete reality of social civilization into an abstraction. Just place your camera in a lovely, fogged place and wait for something like 15 minutes… So if you have ever thought of trying to write yourself into any landscape for a brief moment, well, this could happen to you.
With his short Vintage Print the filmmaker Siegfried A. Fruhauf is successfully hiding again in a dark cinema, leaving us with his permanent audiovisual effects, radiating the calm of a landscape: we hear people talking and laughing, a helicopter over our heads. The noise of its blades brings to mind horses, galloping from a distance. And thereby once again, on the speeding up of the individual images by means of the apparatus. The picture and each and every frame is lost and is shown on the big screen for the last time. “Analog” mostly means “romantic” in its primary meaning.
If you fell in love with Soldate Jeannette by Daniel Hoesl you can relax now because his latest work WINWIN is another tiny masterpiece, too. Again Hoesl is questioning the value of money, and asking about the factors that effect changes in the “objective exchange of money” or its purchasing power. I can introduce this one also perfectly with quoting Jon Jost: “This is a movie, a way to speak. It is bound, like all systems of communication, with conventions. Some of these are arbitrarily imposed, some are imposed by economic or political pressures, some are imposed by the medium itself. Some of these conventions are necessary: They are the commonality through which we are able to speak with one another in this way. But some of these conventions are unnecessary, and not only that, they are damaging to us, they are self-destructive. Yet we are in a bad place to see this. We are in a theater”. But once again Hoesl brings on also his musical charms and knowledge, a strong body consciousness leads to this wonderful acting, and the film’s cinematography brings some ballet-like quality on the big screen.
Helmut Berger, actor by Andreas Horvath is not only disturbing because of its masturbating scenes. The former most beautiful man in the world brings on his Marlene-Dietrich-qualities. But where Dietrich after a certain time simply rejected the camera, Berger is not really looking for it but scary in his vanity and his indifference at the same time. Horvath got his problems with Berger and is deeply enjoying them. And Berger got his problems with the whole world, not enjoying them. He is still proud and crying over the loss of a time, where it was clear to everyone that he is a real international superstar. Maybe the film is irritating and at its best showing that time leaves you and your body in a desperate state. And showing that love is the most important need for a human being.
* Notes concerning my very personal selection of Austrian Avant-garde Cinema seen during the “Diagonale”, Festival of the Austrian Film 2016.