Realism(s) #5, or: notes on factory gates


Sortie d'usine - ph. Louis Lumière, 1895

Most narrative films begin after work is over.

--Harun Farocki, Arbeiter verlassen die Fabrik, 1995.

Trop tôt, trop tard - Straub-Huillet, 1981, color, 16mm

If we line up one hundred years of scenes of people leaving factories, we can imagine that the same shot had been taken over and over and over. Like a child who repeats its first word for one hundred years to immortalise its pleasure in that first spoken word. Or like Far Eastern artists who repeatedly paint the same picture until it is perfect, and the artist can enter the picture. When we could no longer believe in such perfection, film was invented.

--Harun Farocki, Arbeiter verlassen die Fabrik, 1995.






Exit - Sharon Lockhart, 2008, color, 16mm


None of these directors impose their world view on the spectator – they don't hit you on the head with their visions, leave you lying there paralysed, ready for a serious brainwash; rather, they approach the world, describe it. They show people at work and in their free time, and the dynamics of groups. Their pictures remain clear, the style is unadorned; a multiple exposure or a superimposed image is the wildest manipulative special effect their films admit. They reject the classical bourgeois notion of the functionality of art, in which everything is finally resolved and ascribed its meaningful place.

--Olaf Möller on the filmmakers of Filmkritik, Passage along the Shadow-Line, 1998.

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