The film is divided into five parts, which differ in the visual and musical structure of each other. The plot – it is about two women and their love for each other is of secondary importance. The subtle combination of space and still images with music montages opened to the audience new perception qualities. In the last part of the love scenes – are sequences of images and music to increase in an intoxicating rhythm.
T – WO – MEN
Germany, 1972, sound, colour, 90 mins, 16mm. Sound by Anthony Moore. With Geeske Hof-Helmers and Dore O.
Werner Nekes: a short comment on the aesthetic organisation of T-wo-men: The orthography of the title refers to the ‘horizontal readability’ of film. The tiniest film information is an amalgamation of two individual images in the mind of the recipient. Cader A joins up with Cader B to achieve the thaumatropic effect, to a form a ‘cine’, the smallest transmission element of cinematic information. If one wants to arrive at conclusions concerning cinematic ‘language’, one must analyse this element, the ‘cine’ or groups of the same. Just as image A forms a compound with image B, thus simultaneously, image B combines with image C. The ‘cine’ is determined by the exact difference (in the sense of information theory) between Cader A and Cader B. The identity of two Caders, in other words, no difference whatsoever creates an illusion of a ‘standstill’ a slight difference, that of motion and a maximal difference, that of a complete merging of forms. Part 1,2 and 4 are examples for ‘horizontal’, parts 3 and 5 for horizontal and vertical readability of film.”
“The film consists of five parts which differ trechantly in rhythm and structure. In part one the viewer is subtly put in an erotic mood: shoes and legs are shown, parts of a faded dress, two pale marble faces. This hovering, floating part is succeeded – even in music – by hard, quick pop rhythm (part 2). Images changing in split seconds, isolated shots. The third part uses super-impository techniques (up to five layers). Just as in the films of his wife, Dore O., repetition of certain elements (the surge of the sea, a certain street motif) evokes a chain of associations: parting and separation. The final part combines both in music and in image all motifs struck up so far. A difficult film, driving viewers from the cinema. Technically admirable and daring. Nekes belongs to the underground of film. It is here that innovations of stylistic means originate.” – Brigitte Jeremias, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Oct 17 1972.
Werner Nekes has done some of the most interesting film work in Germany, with over twenty-five films completed to date….T-wo-men uses this basic emphasis on the horizontal or diachronic movement from one frame to another against a vertical or synchronic movement of superimposed levels of the frames to set up intense activity within the smallest possible moments of viewing time.” – John du Cane Time Out, August 1973.
For Nekes these are the principles of filmic organisation: real environment, mostly landscapes, is transformed into artificial images by means of complicated camera and montage techniques…The technique of dissection and re-combination of image material by single-frame, multi exposures, space and time intervals during the shooting of the same area, are all variously applied in T-wo-men…A certain insecurity in his concept becomes apparent in that in each film title he mentions the actors, although they are mostly unrecognisable because of their shadowy appearance, and fulfil no obvious function. These ‘actors’ are usually Nekes himself, his wife, child and friends. He tries to bring personal experience into the film by naming the actors and thus recalling the actual events of the shooting. The formal aspect seems to be insufficient, and he therefore tries to enrich it by emotional values which do not lie in the film but are referred to it from outside.. Nekes sees the means for the structural extension of image language in ‘polyvisuality’, ‘image cluster’ and ‘camera movement which is determined by space co-ordinates’. This extended language of images is for him a way of starting to ‘change the minds (thinking) of the recipients, by changes in the medium’. –