Stephen Dwoskin – Behindert (1974)

given how he arrived in the world of film, Dwoskin is usually considered to be an experimental film-maker, which he, like any genuine artist, evidently is, but this attitude leads to a misunderstanding, and makes his films difficult to distribute, because his films are immediatly assumed (in a humdrum, unthinking world) to be primarly dominated by considerations of form rather than substance, and thus not only inaccessible to, but also uninterested in attracting, a broader audience
But Dwoskin words do not bear this out. As early as 1981, he explained how “Behindert was intended for a television audience and it was easier to get my message accross by showing myself directly on screen. My aim is to make films that work both in the cinema and on television”(…)

Dwoskin appeared for the first time on screen in Behindert, explaining that he did so simply because he was telling his own story
It’s a simple story : a man and a woman meet at a party with friends, start seeing each other, and live together for a while, then the woman leaves.
Emotion, again : the scene of the meeting lasts around 15 minutes during which we see the eyes of Carola, a woman watching, a woman watched (by the camera, since Steven’s character is nowhere to be seen in the first part of the film), a woman put on show and captured at her most intimate.
The questioning expectations, sensual quivers, fevered curiosity and vague anxiety of first romantic encounters have surely never been better portrayed. The film continues in a similarly exultant and wrenching vein. The film-maker invites us to take a look at things we have never looked at before, and tells us a love story that struggle to find a way through the hazards of everyday life, the everyday life of a disabled person, and those hazards eventually drag the story down. The issue if fiction vs reality does not have much relevance when it is acknowledged that reality does not need to be watched to be real.

incidental note
“brief shots, staccato editing, ‘shaky’ filming : the awkwardness is evidently deliberate. In other words, the technique, which is very close to that of amateur cinema, claims to be avant-garde and is thus an art effect, a standpoint” (Telerama 1977 Behindert review…)

(…)what would be the response if similar comments were made, for example in connection with Céline : “clumsy sentences, shaky syntax, vague wording… in other words, the technique, which is very close to that of an amateur writer,” etc ? How much harm has been done by comments of this ilk to Dwoskin’s films, which are just as moving as any by Ford or Chaplin ? It is precisely because they’re “written” the way they are that Dwoskin’s films are so moving. Dwoskin’s legs may be paralysed, but his technical abilities and creative energies are NOT.
(all text above by Michel Barthelemy – typed from booklet)

1.34GB | 1h 34mn | 757×568 | mkv


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