Cinema and Death / Bresson’s “L’Argent” (FRG 1983/1988, Hartmut Bitomsky)

Dying is never truthful in motion pictures, yet the drama of death is omnipresent, particularly in the sometimes linear, sometimes arduous journey film characters have to undertake to meet their end. For “it is rather killing that cinema is concerned with and less death itself. Cinema engages in activities and less in conditions.”

With an introduction by Frederik Lang (in German)

[Working on the image | Insights into the work of Hartmut Bitomsky]

17 April, 7 pm – Luru Kino at the Spinnerei – € 6,5 (5,5 red.)


FRG 1988, D: Hartmut Bitomsky, 46′, German version, Betacam SP


FRG 1983, D: Hartmut Bitomsky, Manfred Blank, Harun Farocki, 30′, German version, file

CINEMA AND DEATH is a film essay on the narratology of “cinematic death” in commercial cinema, a death that is accompanied by picturesque settings and self-referential acting. Bitomsky’s directorial reduction embodies the downright opposite: throughout the film, he is sitting in his dimly lit study, we become aware of film photographs spread out, cigarettes burning down in the ashtray and books that have been used – a seemingly private situation, an intimate dialogue with the films.
BRESSON’S “L’ARGENT” is the attempt of film analysis with the means of cinematography. This methodically reflexive approach on Robert Bresson’s last film is far from merely reproducing or even rhapsodizing, as Bitomsky makes clear in the very beginning: lying on the table in front of him is the object of his examination, that is condensed moments of cinema in the form of black and white photographs of Bresson’s film that was shot in colour – which is no aesthetic deficiency, as “a film stands in the same right to what is said or written about it”.