As its title indicates, the subject in this film is a series of production stills of a film that was never made, and that at the same time is the film we are watching. The image is one long take (11 minutes) of a wall on which a hand sequentially pins a number of Polaroids, one after the other. The Polaroids depict the crew making the film; the synchronous sound allows us to hear in ‘real time’, their chatter and the hum of the still camera, so that we can anticipate the photos and assign faces to the voices we hear.
A Third Version of the Imaginary
In this very short, very intense film, we see and understand, as we so rarely do. In a place that acts as a film library in Nairobi, guided by the manager of the site, we follow a presentation of the archives shot in Kenya. From the real difficulties inherent to conservation, we suddenly move on to others. The question of language, of the representation of a language such as Swahili, shapes it into those motifs associated with censure, it is the links between image, language and censure that appear. And yet Benjamin Tiven does not consider this complex ensemble as the subject of his work — but as the very material of his very own judiciously enigmatic film.
Ariana tells the story of a film crew that sets out to visit the Pandjsher Valley in Afghanistan. Described in classic Persian poetry as a ‘paradise garden’, the impenetrable nature of the valley and its fertile landscape have set it apart from the rest of the country and encouraged a history of independence and resistance. Hugonnier’s film considers how the specificities of a landscape help to determine its history. After the crew is unable to film the valley from a vantage point in the surrounding Hindu Kush mountains, Ariana becomes the story of a failed project that prompts a process of reflection about the ‘panorama’ as a form of strategic overview, as a cinematic camera move, and its origins as pre-cinematic mass entertainment.
Journal captures three temporal layers in one shot. First, there is the handheld camera moving along a series of photos of official visits to the Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum in Jerusalem. The dignitaries themselves are looking at one of the iconic images of the Holocaust taken by an American soldier named H. Miller. Sirah Foighel Brutmann’s father’s photographic archive forms the basis of this film, just as it did for their previous work Printed Matter. André Brutmann was a freelance photographer in the Middle East, and between 1986 and 2000 he often shot official visits to Yad Vashem. Journal is a multilayered work in which the filmmakers play with time, movement and point of view. There is silence all around: the only sound is that of the cameraman breathing.