A premonition of a horror film, lurking danger: A house - at night, slightly tilted in the camera's view, eerily lit - surfaces from the pitch black, then sinks back into it again. A young ... See full summary »
This three-minute film was far more akin to the American-style "happening" in that the content was not particularly extreme. It was built up from items such as broken bicycle parts, a nude ... See full summary »
Based on a Muehl Happening. The almost convulsive use of juxtaposition reappears here, but the captured gesture assumes a more erotic sensitivity, though the "action" itself was primarily a gradual destruction of the erotic.
A meadow, a lake, the silhouette of a hill, trees. 21 days of the same view in Saarland. 21 days with five different cut-outs in a mask before the camera, which finally reveals a complete ... See full summary »
To appreciate Kurt Kren's short films, one must consider the climate from which they emerged. In Austria and abroad, post-war conservatism was faltering. In the United States, Kenneth Anger's "Scorpio Rising" and Jack Smith's "Flaming Creatures" challenged the code, outraging audiences and censors alike. Although they were sparely screened, they awakened a craving that audience were hitherto unaware of, a craving best articulated by Gregory Markopoulos, who said of "Flaming Creatures" that "early audiences were astounded when their secret Hollywood fantasies burst upon the screen". That Kurt Kren made "6/64: Mama und Papa (Materialaktion Otto Mühl)" at the same time as these films is an example of the Zeitgeist theory at work. At the same time, another director working in another country, Duan Makavejev in former Yugoslavia, had evolved from shorts to feature length films with "Man Is Not a Bird". Although the film was a breakthrough for Makavejev, he would not achieve the same level of sexual frankness, of erotic deconstructionism, or dadaism (or both), that Kren achieved in "Mama und Papa" until the 1970s. In the early 1970s Makavejev made his masterpieces, "WR: Mysteries of the Organism" and "Sweet Movie". In Kurt Kren, one can see a fleeting glimpse of what is fully realized in these films. A prominent parallel can be drawn between "Mama und Papa" and "Sweet Movie". In both films, the naked body of a woman (or women) is flaunted, and then covered with food. Both evoking a similar feeling of nausea (achieved with what may be termed the gradual destruction of the erotic). In their crusade for sexual expression, both directors seem to be proposing nothing less than a paradigm shift. Their destruction of the erotic is not an attack on eroticism or sexuality, but an attack on antiquated ideas of what is and isn't erotic, the comedy of manners that is our sexual etiquette. I write "our" sexual etiquette because not much has changed. There is still a lot of room for progress in the field of human sexuality. Making "Mama und Papa" as powerful and as relevant now as it was in the 1960s
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