Kubelka’s most recent film before Pause! is Unsere Afrikareise, whose images are relatively conventional “records” of a hunting-trip in Africa. The shooting records multiple “systems” — white hunters, natives, animals, natural objects, buildings — in a manner that preserves the individuality of each. At the same time, the editing of sound and image brings these systems into comparison and collision, producing a complex of multiple meanings, statements, ironies…
Peter Kubelka (b. 1934) is a multifaceted artist and theoretician who has worked in the art forms of film, cuisine, music, architecture, speaking and writing. Since the beginning of the fifties he has been a leading exponent of the international avante garde film and has had screenings in all the European countries as well as in the USA and Japan.
In 1964 Kubelka co-founded the Austrian Film Museum and has been its curator ever since.
Kubelka has been involved in creating avante garde film collections, a music ensemble and has taught at various universities in the USA and Europe. In addition, he has been a professor in film at the Art Academy in Frankfurt since 1978 where he also served as Rector in the period of 1985-88. As a theoretician he has held numerous lectures and participated in many symposiums among others, “Non-Industrial Film – Non-Industrial Cuisine”. Already in 1967 Kubelka created his first theoretical work in cuisine as an art form and in 1980 his teaching… read more
Yet another painful examination of sound against sight; apart from its own thematic material (a more pointed surrealism of the African Travels culture; the same surrealism found in many a magazine with advertising for perfumes on one side and lascivious descriptions of drought on the other) it is a searing indictment of our own African travels through life and cinema, in ravenous search of big sensation.
1) Also the passion and (negative) ecstasy of this film - which remind me of Lorca at his darkest - have very little to do with Trinh T's dry academicism except the putative subject. 2) Kubelka hates his films on anything but 16 mm so I feel guilty commenting on a shitty copy floating around the net. This is tops on my list of films to catch on the screen...
A film print just screened at Alternative Film/Video Belgrade, within a Kubelka retrospective programmed by Gerald Weber of Sixpack Films (Austria). Well-regarded masterpiece. Felt like the missing link between early ethnographic film and modernist revisions of the form by the likes of Trinh T. Minh-ha and others. Won't be surprised to see Sixpack Film release a DVD collection of all of Kubelka's work someday.
I think the world would be a much better place if there was a decent video transfer of this film. I’ve not yet determined whether what is available on YouTube is “better than nothing” or not, but I find it painful to watch. If I was to hear that this was going to be released on DVD/Blue Ray by The Criterion Collection, along with everything else by Peter Kubelka (his total output, including the 13 minute “Dichtung and Wahheit” [1996/2003] -- which I have not seen -- is a little over an hour [something like 64 minutes]) I would immediately pre-order it through Amazon and then count the days with great anticipation. Kenneth Anger’s “Magic Lantern Cycle” has been available on VHS and DVD for some time now; several hours of Stan Brakhage’s work and 3 hours of Jonas Mekas’ “Diaries, Notes and Sketches” can be viewed on your TV anytime you want. It’s time to put Peter Kubelka on the front burner. I know that his work is meant to be seen projected on a screen, and even a great video transfer would be missing something, but I still think not having available good video copies of the great films is a huge disservice . . . particularly since those of us out in the boonies will be stuck with only bad video copies (and there’s no way around it: bad video copies will always pop up and fill the void).
Unsere Afrikareise, an ode to the displacement/juxtaposition of sound and film, and how sound tarnishes or enhances meaning, even if the sound is not the one pertaining to the action depicted. Innovative, but the obsession of Austrian fringe filmmakers of the time with form over content doesn't really do it for me. However, I find more of an emotional connection in this film than in Arnulf Rainer and Adebar.