Buckle up for dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y, the acclaimed hijacking documentary that eerily foreshadowed 9-11. We meet the romantic skyjackers who fought their revolutions and won airtime on the passenger planes of the 1960’s. By the 1990s, such characters apparently are no more, replaced on our TV screens by stories of state-sponsored suitcase bombs. Director Johan Grimonprez investigates the politics behind this change, at the same time unwrapping our own complicity in the urge for ultimate disaster. Playing on Don DeLillo’s riff in the novel MAO II: ‘what terrorists gain, novelists lose’ and ‘home is a failed idea’, he blends archive hijackings with surreal and banal themes including fast food, pet statistics, disco and his quirky home movies. David Shea wrote the superb soundtrack to this roller coaster through history, best described in the words of one hijacked Pepsi executive as: “running the gamut of many emotions: from surprise to shock, to fear, to joy, to laughter and then again, fear.”
Johan Grimonprez was born in Roeselare, Belgium in 1962. He studied at the School of Visual Arts and attended the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program in New York.
Grimonprez achieved international acclaim with his film essay, Dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y. With its premiere at Centre Pompidou and Documenta X in Kassel in 1997, it eerily foreshadowed the events of September 11th. The film tells the story of airplane hijackings since the 1970s and how these changed the course of news reporting. The movie consists of recycled images taken from news broadcasts, Hollywood movies, animated films and commercials. As a child of the first TV generation, the artist mixes reality and fiction in a new way and presents history as a multi-perspective dimension open to manipulation.
Grimonprez’s Looking for Alfred, 2005, plays with the theme of the double through simulations and reversals. The point of departure is the film director Alfred Hitchcock and his legendary guest appearances in his… read more
"Shouldn't death be a swan dive; graceful, white-winged and smooth?" A gently cheerful narrator muses as footage of a plane makes its descent towards a runway. So begins Dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y - an experimental documentary that reveals how news media assigned celebrity status upon hijackers in the 1960s and 70s and how their revolutionary zeal emerged energized in Warholian fashion. Eerily made just years before 9/11.