A smokestack stubbornly pierces the sky. Trains rumble by. Lights come on in the buildings as night falls. The man behind the camera, looking for an image. Of himself? Of the world? Of society? By day and night, in rain and snow, he stands filming at the window of his studio. We hear people leaving messages on his answering machine. They talk about the weather, congratulate him on his birthday. His father dies, a child is born, the young family begins to fall apart. Time passes. Slowly the cityscape morphs into the inner landscape of the man behind the camera. Seasons change, there is lightning and thunder, snow falls and trees blossom. In the end a newly‐built skyscraper dominates the landscape, eclipsing the now‐familiar smokestack.
The scenes outside the window were shot on 35mm film between 1995 and 2010; the authentic telephone messages were collected between 1988 and 2003. Taken together, they form an imaginary portrait of the unseen man behind the camera. His character is reflected in the voices and moods of the callers. Some transmit praise; others, accusations. Some female voices flirt with him; one of them breaks off the relationship.
The man never picks up the phone. He stays behind the camera: framing, re-framing, focusing. He is unavailable and thus becomes the object of both desire and hostility. His own thoughts and emotions emerge through the film’s soundtrack: 12 songs that, combined with the images he shoots, reflect his subjective point of view. Like the images and the messages, the songs alternate between happiness and sadness, anger and humour. When the day is done, the film will remain: the kaleidoscope of a life. —Thomas Imbach
Thomas Imbach is a Swiss maverick director, whose work is visual, edgy and performance driven. In 2007 he founded Okofilm Productions together with director/ producer Andrea Štaka. With Well Done (1994) and Ghetto (1997) he established his trademark audio-visual style based on a combination of cinema-verité camera-work and fast-paced computer controlled editing. His fiction feature films Happiness is a Warm Gun (which was nominated for the Golden Leopard at Locarno in 2001), Lenz (2006) and I was a Swiss Banker (2007) all premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival.