A white screen. Tabula rasa. Panavision. L’arrivée shines on you like pure projected light, like the white surface still waiting for the marks of the film maker. In L’Arrivée, Peter Tscherkassky goes back to the beginning, back to lumière and the Lumières who, once upon a time, made a film of a train arriving.
And then the dirt begins to invade, the “story”, if you like. A frenzy in the soundtrack – it bangs, creaks, crackles and roars. From the right a grey veil approaches: the perforation of a strip of film. L’arrivée makes cinema from mistakes, from derailments. Half pictures – the misty pictures of a grey delegation in station somewhere – penetrate the white surface. From right and left they run together, crash into each other and strive to separate themselves again. The material comes from Mayerling (1968), a Habsburger melodrama from the British director Terence Young. The Eastman colour which was originally present has been exorcised by the film maker.
What Tscherkassky does here is drastically re-configure in CinemaScope. A train arrives and collides with its mirror image. Events begin to turn head over heels. Tscherkassky hystericalises the images. He allows them to lose their certainty, crosses soundtrack with perforation strip, changes positive to negative, slits the material open. Inside out and upside down. Phantom images – behind the veil of a film still running amok as if in the grip of a panicking collaborative cinematographic machine. A film star staggers into the final kiss – Catherine Deneuve alights, a man (Omar Sharif – which sounds like j’arrive) hurries towards her. A kiss. Bliss. An end. L’arrivée is a film in the process of approaching. An orchestrated melodrama of dislocated viewing values made whith sheer pleasure in disaster. —Stefan Grissemann (www.tscherkassky.at)
Born in 1958 in Vienna, Austria. Lived in Berlin 1979-84. Studied philosophy. Doctoral thesis: “Film as Art. Towards a Critical Aesthetics of Cinematography” (1985/86). Founding member of Sixpack Film. Organized several international avant-garde film festivals in Vienna and film tours abroad. Since 1984 numerous publications and lectures on the history and theory of avant-garde film. 1993 and 1994 artistic director of the annual Austrian film festival “Diagonale”. Editor of the book “Peter Kubelka” (1995; with Gabriele Jutz). Films since 1979. Recent book: Alexander Horwath, Michael Loebenstein (Ed.), “Peter Tscherkassky” (germ./engl.; Vienna 2005). —http://www.tscherkassky.at
I don't really get this film, it almost discouraged me from watching the rest of Tscherkassky's films. Fortunately, I gave his other films a shot because they were a lot more enjoyable. I can't really say the film is awful because it's so short but I don't think I'll ever re-watch it.
"L'Arrivée" est un grande histoire d'amour. Moins tape-à-l'oeil et fastueuse que "Fast Film". Une femme arrive, dont le train entre en gare. Au bout du quai, on ne l'apprend qu'à la fin : son amant. Leur union est menacée par une lumière blafarde et par la césure de la pellicule. Mais la bobine a beau s'emballer, le film risquer de se rompre, le spectre de Catherine Deneuve réussira à accomplir le baiser salvateur.