Jump directly to the page contents

Download catalogue (PDF)

“Nine reels of unbelievably gorgeous 16mm, eight of which feature allegories drawn from philosopher Günther Anders’s posthumously published 1931 novel "The Molussian Catacomb", which exposes the fascism inside capitalism and vice versa. The sequencing of the reels – i.e. the stories and the way certain motifs, aesthetic strategies, and cinematic devices are introduced and worked through – is interchangeable; what carries over from reel to reel are the colors and textures. Few works so perfectly combine cinesensuality and Marxist dialectics.” (Olaf Möller, Film Comment)

“I wanted to make a film based on a novel that I couldn‘t read, since it was written in a language that I don‘t understand, and there‘s no translation. Strange idea, you might say. But it‘s a matter of trust. Maybe a little bit of intuition, but mostly trust. All that I knew was the fictional framing: prisoners, plunged into the darkness of a jail in an imaginary fascist state, Molussia, tell each other stories about the outside, like so many philosophically inclined fables. Looking back I can say that I made no mistake; the novel is profoundly topical today. But how to film it? Just film this imaginary landscape. No need to travel very far. Wander through more or less industrialized landscapes with my friend Nathalie, stopping here and there. Build a few machines with my friend Christophe to add to the complexity. My friend Stefan gave me a pile of outdated 16mm film stock. I asked Peter to read the book for me, and he picked out a few chapters. He knows me very well, he translated my last film. Trust. I add a few more chapters, whose titles appeal to me. Together with Nathalie we make a rough translation. The random order makes for a quite particular experience editing the film. I have to adjust, shift, invert, shorten it here and stretch it out there. Not too many constraints so as not to betray the pleasure of simply putting sound and image together. And then to let the whole thing rest a bit before periodically coming back to listening to the film.” (Nicolas Rey)

Nicolas Rey was born in 1968. Unlike the famous American director, his name is not a pseudonym. Nor is he the son of the French experimental filmmaker Georges Rey. He is also not related to the other Nicolas Reys who live at Place de Paris, although he often gets their mail. Since 1993, he makes films that combine elements of photography, documentary film, and experimental film. He is also a co-founder of the collective film lab L‘Abominable.

Format: 16mm
Running time: 81 min

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
  • Logo des Programms NeuStart Kultur