Sunday, March 30, 2008
a trick of the light
a tribute, and a moving one at that, to the medium of cinema and the people who invented it, the movie follows the story of the skladonovsy brothers who invented the bioscope- a method for the projection of cinema in the late 19th century. genres are reused as much for the sake of reference as narrative device. black and white scratched footage (fictional) slips into staged documentary with the film makers themselves in front of the camera (and behind it) and archival footage (sometimes original, sometimes reconstructed). these images form bridges between times and spaces backwards and forwards as cinema ( and the film) allows confrontations between disparate spaces otherwise impossible. the dancing uncle trapped in the box gets out only when a trick of light projects him true to life on the bedroom wall- much to the delight of the niece who misses him. these uncanny reincarnations when the present and the past are juxtaposed over one another are only possible in cinema. even as a sense of nostalgia in the images evoke the berlin of the past, when characters step out of the frame into the present they watch awestruck the city being reconstructed- cranes turn in arcs over potsdamer platz.. it is 1996 and the berlin wall has collapsed. the present informs the past – suddenly the images take on new meanings. towards the end when the italian dance of two young girls is played in loop for 4 minutes straight, first to music and then in silence, you marvel at the magic of the moving image as doubtless many had a century ago.