Dir: Joram Ten Brink
52 min., 16mm, 1:1.66, Color, WP
Produktion: J. Productions, London. Musik und Tondesign: ,Barbed' - Alex Burrow und Alex McKechnie. Zusätzliche Kamera: Uri ten Brink. Optischer Printer: Ross Lipman, Charlotte Pryce, Carol Doing.
Uraufführung: 3.2.1997, Rotterdam Film Festival.
Weltvertrieb: Joram ten Brink, 26 A Aylestone Ave., London NWG 7AA. Tel.: (44-181) 459 3065. Fax: (44-171) 911 59 43.
Sat 15.02. 14:00 Delphi Sat 15.02. 21:00 Kino 7 im Zoo Palast Sun 16.02. 20:00 Arsenal Mon 17.02. 12:00 Akademie der Künste
,THE MAN WHO COULDN'T FEEL' AND OTHER TALES is a journey into 20th century history, based on my personal film diaries, shot on Super 8-film and optically printed on 16mm, using a unique style of editing and highly original sound design and electronic music.
The film, which has been in the making for the past four years, has developed from an early interest in anthropological filmmaking, the conventional documentary tradition and narrative fiction writing. An earlier film, Jacoba (Holland 1988, Forum 1989) tried to define the middle ground between narrative fiction and documentary film.
The documentary images used in ,THE MAN WHO COULDN'T FEEL' AND OTHER TALES, which I have been gathering around the world since the mid 80's, are not used to convey reality or an event in the documentary fashion, but are constructed as an essay. The images were assembled, on one level, as an autobiography - but the film has no subject except the consciousness of the person who shot it. Yet, the result is completely removed from the personal to a more spectral entity. The film opens the possibility for the viewers to create their own ,subject'.
I had roughly 350 minutes of images from the Chinese country side, Bombay, San Francisco, Antarctica, Italy, Holland and France. In addition I brought together archive material I have collected over the years from China, Portugal and Japan, musical recordings I made in the past as a Musicologist and written texts from various sources.
Conventional work methods with the material were completely unsuitable. The process of working started very much as a process of negation - rejecting structures and forms in advance which forced me to look for the alternatives. I started working, not from a theoretical perspective, but from within the material itself taking my ,clues' from the images and sound. The structure and ,theory' would come later if at all. I compiled all the rushes randomly into large reels and throughout the editing process kept the material unclassified and resisted grouping it in any order or form. Starting with the first image of the film I slowly built longer and longer sequences. After creating a large number of clusters of images and sound, I moved on to cooperate with the band ,Barbed' - two London based musicians who work mainly in sampling, montage and electronic sound - to reach the final shape of the film. The editing lasted for four years.
(Joram ten Brink)
The film approaches non-linearity - the non-narrative - but from a filmmaker who loves stories and the drama of cinema. If it is not a story it is a drama - a drama which spirals upwards and downwards through the fragments of memory, the random connections of anecdote. My critical metaphor of the spiral for this film's structure is subjective. The spiral down is like the willow seed - falling lightly in gently resisted gravity or like the whirlpool - slowing the descent allowing us to encounter - without the frantic trajectory of modern popular montage - the fragments and themes from new angles in the passage and in new relationships to other themes. At the same time as we fall, it feels like a spiral upwards - like the sea-bird in rising air - because of the lightness of cinematic touch and the sense not of conclusion but of up-lift.
The themes are autobiographical but not about the filmmaker. They are made universal by becoming metaphor. They are metaphors which emerge from the fragments of life experience as held tentatively in the image. The images tempt us to read ,home-movie', super-eight - but here - super eight signifies reticence to intervene. In its aesthetic form it traces an ethical relationship - between those people before the camera, the author behind the camera and the film's viewer interpreting both through the image of the screen.
We create our interpretive narrative from the connections we are invited to make in the material but this narrative belongs to us. And the narrative continues in our recollection after the film as the film gives us a form in which memory is not fixed in the past but is constantly revised and reviewed in imagination. This is the work of a film poet, in the tradition of Chris Marker and Maya Deren. The images are seductive, the montage is fine, but the work with sound is superb - it fills a fellow filmmaker with envy.
Joram ten Brink was born in Israel in 1952. He studied Music and Film in Holland and England; he lives in London.
1980: Stop Camera. 1981: Future Tense. 1982: Life and Death Video Show; First Let Us Kill. 1983: Andrew. 1985: Three Casio Postcards. 1986: Common Ground; A Door in the Wall. 1988: Jacoba (Forum 1989); C. Lanzmann In The Phonix. 1993: Going Home (script). 1995: Winter Hunt (script).
© 1997 by International Forum of New Cinema. All rights reserved.