Screened as part of NZIFF 2002

Film ist (7-12) 2001

Directed by Gustav Deutsch

Austria In English
93 minutes Colour and B&W

Director, Editor


Werner Dafeldecker
Christian Fennesz
Martin Siewert
Burkhard Stangl


Rotterdam 2002


Austrian experimental filmmaker Gustav Deutsch raids obscure corners of the film past – and a few not so obscure – to construct found-footage explorations of the allure of the medium. While his earlier Film ist. (1-6), shown in 1999, dealt in the startling imagery of scientific and medical films, the new edition draws on popular cinema from the first years of the last century. Silent comedy chase sequences are step-printed and cut together into exquisite flurries of panic. Blatantly unfaked close encounters between express trains and getaway cars are orchestrated into arpeggios of sheer terror. Totems of colonised exoticism collide with surreal images of barely domesticated lions and serpents. Beautifully tinted and toned, and set against a subtle 21st century soundscape of electronic effects and music, Deutsch’s film is a cornucopia no lover of early cinema will want to miss. — BG

“An unbounded love of cinema’s tangible material is obvious in Deutsch’s compilation… The attractions are as numerous (and ultimately as inexplicable) as the desire to watch.” — Stefan Grissemann