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 »

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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 panorama. The landscape changes with the advancing seasons and becomes slowly delirious in its technical alienation. (Claus Philipp) Written by Sixpack Film <office@sixpackfilm.com>

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19 April 2012 (USA)  »

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31/75: Asylum  »

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Asylum
4 January 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

31/75: Asyl is one of Kren's structural films. He is perhaps more famous for his short, rather more shocking films documenting Viennese Actionist events (his artistic input most notably the epileptic editing). The numbers are for cataloguing, which he started doing in 1957, so 31 stands for the 31st movie since then (although there was a 10b and a 10c), and 75 is just the year it was made (1975).

The idea with a structural film is to create the content largely by technique alone as opposed to worrying to much about a narrative world, this might take the form of shooting holes in the film stock with a shotgun, exposing the film stock to acid or burning, or using strobing to emphasise the fact that you are seeing moving pictures. In this case one of the key techniques is reprinting, which is where same film reel has been fed through the camera more than once. In every structural film you should feel aware of the medium as much as the content.

Asyl is set in the countryside and employs an apparently fixed camera, Kren shoots over several days in different weather conditions and using blocking techniques where the blind resembles the layout of an old programmer's punched card. The refeeding and blocking of the film stock creates glimpses of impossible landscapes where a snowdrift goes straight into a grassy meadow, and rain falls and then vanishes.

I found this an immensely calming watch after a difficult day at work and was reminded of the Yeats poem The Lake Isle of Innisfree, particularly the second paragraph:

"I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree, And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made; Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee, And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow, Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings; There midnight's all a-glimmer, and noon a purple glow, And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore; While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray, I hear it in the deep heart's core."


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