John Cook – Artischocke (1982)


Peter, a 20 year old Viennese photographer, has made the bookings for a holiday with his friend Liesl in the south of France. A French tourist seduces him and he falls for her. Liesl is mad at him. But she wants to go on the trip so she leaves with him. But they do not spend their time together. She flirts with the men on the beach while Peter falls for Simone, a southern beauty, even though they don’t speak the same language. Simone’s fiancé arrives and their affair is over. He misses her exotic charm and doesn’t find it in Liesl who’s just ‘the girl next door’ for him. Liesl flies back home when their vacation ends but Peter wants to stay on in France and look for a job. Contemporary love story about the confrontation of French and Austrian culture. Read More »

Peter Tscherkassky – Instructions for a Light & Sound Machine (2005)

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The hero of Instructions for a Light and Sound Machine is easy to identify. Walking down the street unknowingly, he suddenly realizes that he is not only subject to the gruesome moods of several spectators but also at the mercy of the filmmaker. He defends himself heroically, but is condemned to the gallows, where he dies a filmic death through a tearing of the film itself.
Our hero then descends into Hades, the realm of shades. Here, in the underground of cinematography, he encounters innumerable printing instructions, the means whereby the existence of every filmic image is made possible. In other words, our hero encounters the conditions of his own possibility, the conditions of his very existence as a filmic shade.
Instructions for a Light and Sound Machine is an attempt to transform a Roman Western into a Greek tragedy.

Peter Tscherkassky (translation: Eve Heller) Read More »

Peter Tscherkassky – Cinemascope Trilogy (1997 – 2001)

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L’Arrivée is Tscherkassky’s second hommage to the Lumiére-brothers. First you see the arrival of the film itself, which shows the arrival of a train at a station. But that train collides with a second train, causing a violent crash, which leads us to an unexpected third arrival, the arrival of a beautiful woman – the happy-end.
Reduced to two minutes L’Arrivée gives a brief, but exact summary of what cinematography (after its arrival with Lumiéres train) has made into an enduring presence of our visual enviroment: violence, emotions. Or, as an anonymous american housewife (cited by T. W. Adorno) used to describe Hollywood’s version of life: “Getting into trouble and out of it again.”

(Peter Tscherkassky) Read More »

Franz Kafka – The Castle (1926)

The Castle is a philosophical novel by Franz Kafka. In it a protagonist, known only as K., strives to gain access to the mysterious authorities of a castle that governs the village where K. has arrived to work as a land surveyor. Dark and at times surreal, The Castle is about alienation, bureaucracy, and the seemingly endless frustrations of man’s attempts to stand against the system. Read More »

Götz Spielmann – Antares (2004)

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A housing development on the outskirts of a big city, common, ubiquitous – high-rise apartment complexes, lots of concrete, sparse plots of perfunctory green. Graffiti-scrawled entryways, intercoms, long stairwells, thousands of faceless windows. From out of this uniform coexistence three couples emerge whose lives intersect over the course of three days and will never be the same again. Read More »

Arash T. Riahi – Ein Augenblick Freiheit aka For a Moment, Freedom (2008)


Introduced separately, the protagonists are clustered into three groups. In the first, college-aged, cheerful Merdad and more serious-minded friend Ali are sneaking two pint-size cousins out of Iran to reunite them with refugee parents already in Austria.
In the second group, Lale and Hussan travel over the mountains by foot with their own young son, hoping to find European asylum from political persecution. After some tense moments, these first two groups find themselves safely –for the moment — across the border, in the same car driven by a kindly coyote.
In Ankara, they soon discover such friends are hard to find. Turkish cops and Iranian secret police are on the prowl for illegals; even the manager at the hotel where the protags are housed turns out to be an informant. Read More »

Ulrich Seidl – Jesus, Du weisst AKA Jesus, you know (2003)


Documentary filmmaker Ulrich Seidl offers a provocative look at both Christianity and its followers by examining a handful of true believers through their prayers in this film. Jesus, Du Weisst observes six people — mostly Catholics — as they kneel in church and pray for guidance. Rather than offer a detailed look at their personal lives, Seidl allows us to learn about these people as they share their needs and concerns with the Lord through prayer, and we watch some of the subjects as their faith manifests itself in their daily lives. In Jesus, Du Weisst (Jesus, I Know), Seidl also touches upon how the manner in which people worship is often reflected in the design and decor of the churches to which they belong. — Mark Deming Read More »