1971-1980CultExperimentalFernando BirriItaly

Fernando Birri – Org (1979)

ORG and excess roads to wisdom
Fernando Birri
“The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom,” said William Blake. This was the mantra we attempted to analyze in the non-film ORG. I want to try to make this lecture correspond formally to its subject, an experimental film. This may or may not work, but I want to attempt an experimental lecture as a way into the film.

I chose Memories of Fire by Eduardo Galeano because I think it gets to the heart of our experience. That is, the Americas as a vessel for delirium. This has as much to do with dreams as it has to do with the creative energy that some call poetry.

In fact, the whole of ORG has been conceived so that each viewer is required to complete it. It starts with this name, ORG, which can function as a prefix or a suffix. ORG generates organ, orgasm, orgy as well as Amorgos, for example. Search for the word that you want. In the course of the film, the word becomes intertwined with the Orgone theory of Wilhelm Reich. It is precisely to him that the film is dedicated along with two other names: Che and Méliès. … Putting these three names together is like mixing oil and vinegar, salt and sugar, Yin and Yang, traditional and conservative culture. In this schizophrenic and ecstatic mixture, contradictory elements remain separate and grow ever more opposed. This was an attempt made with the film to respond to the old concept of “harmony in discord” which is usually taken to imply that contradictions have been overcome.

The film first took shape in the crucial year of 1968: Che had died in 1967 in Bolivia, man was about to reach the moon and his ego had shifted. What was happening in the human psyche seemed to me to be like what happened when the Ptolemaic was replaced by the Copernican world system. At that time the human ego, or its sentiments, was loosing its centeredness. An ego-cosmocentric conception of the human was also being breached. The film suffers all the tensions and ruptures of these contradictions which are, in truth, only psuedocontradictions. {I don’t understand this sentence: “Una crítica es al lenguaje cinematográfico, hecha, de alguna manera, desde el interno del lenguaje cinematográfico, concebida por una bestia cinematográfica que es quien les habla.”} It advances a critique of the concepts of the left of that time from a man who, naturally, has also lived or tried to live in solidarity with the left.


In addition to the two crises I’ve already mentioned, the one about film language and the other about history, there was the third crisis: whether the film could ever be shown, a decision not to be weighed lightly any more than whether or not to commit suicide. But then it was decided that it would be shown in Venice. I constructed a large screen in front of the door of the cinema. This was never intended to be projected in a movie house but as part of something else, part of a happening, what today you would call an installation. So I install this giant screen before the entrance of the cinema and, with a large knife I’d picked up in India, at three o’clock sharp I climb a ladder and begin to cut away at the screen, tearing it open, so that the audience came through the screen. The audience was the backdrop for the film. Rather than situating the viewer in front of the screen as an active spectator, one who leaves no different than when he came to see it, I intended the viewer to enter the film …

The synopsis of the film, or non-film, I’ll read as it appeared in the press-kit: “Some years after the explosion of a mushroom cloud, a black man named Grrrr helps his white friend Zohommm to seduce his beloved Shuick in a love triangle. When Zohommm later becomes jealous, he consults an electronic Sybil about his woman and friend. She confirms his suspicions and, in despair, he cuts off his head. Grrrr, his black friend, finds him dead and also kills himself. When the woman Shuick discovers them, she tries to jump off a cliff, but is stopped by the electronic Sybil, who brings the two friends back to life. Shuick reunites with the two men, but their heads have been transposed, swapped (by mistake or not?) and a dispute arises between the two bodies to decide who will now get the woman. Is a man his head or his sex? This little question, the film leaves open.”

2.48GB | 2h 50m | 767×560 | avi


Language:Italian, English
Subtitles:English, German

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