Thursday, February 23, 2006

Peter Tscherkassky

Media City opened with a BANG! Literally. Peter Tscherkassky's, Instructions for a Light and Sound Machine (2005) slices up the optical sensory function and illuminates it like some celluloid m.r.i. machine displaying scenes of a cinematic autopsy. This film grabs you immediately with an over-exposed shot of a window opening up to reveal an old man with a telescope who scans the disparate landscape like a search light in the dark. Stark images of gunfighters emerge as we the viewer,the voyeur, are a witness (or abettor?) to the violent acts that unravel before us. Tscherkassky uses Sergio Leone's The Good, The Bad and The Ugly as the source material as he meticulously adds layer upon layer of other footage onto it. Ingeniously, the layers distill the film down into it's primal form of violence and exposes the very nature of cinema itself. The layers shift--sprocket holes spasm at the side and text appears and disappears making the film medium always present to the viewer. The sound (which is awesome!) drives the images and the viewers to be a participant in the downward spiral of the hero. It is ultimately the Medium itself that is creator and destroyer of as we the witness stand along side with knife in hand. "Instructions for a Light and Sound Machine is an attempt to transform a Roman Western into a Greek tragedy." Tscherkassky explains. Enough of my crap...I found a better review here...(via cinema. Et Cetera).
Peter Tscherkassky is a founding member of Sixpack Films, which is a promoter and distributor of Austrian films. One of those film makers that we are familiar with over here is Virgil Widrich. Watch his short films Copy Shop and Fast Film which made a big splash on the festival circuit. Other film makers of note are Arash T. Riahi whose film Mississippi has won some festival awards, Barbara Doser whose film Even Odd Even screened at last years OIAF and Tina Frank's Chronomops which you can see at Media City this Friday (International Program 4). Twitch.

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