Cinema and Wind and Photography (D 1991, Hartmut Bitomsky) / Spare Time (UK 1939, Humphrey Jennings)


D 1991, D: Hartmut Bitomsky, 56′, German OV, DigiBeta


UK 1939, D: Humphrey Jennings, 15′, English OV, 16mm

How should one define the relationship of documentary film to reality? Does it aim at authenticity or is it rather an “exile of reality”, a “foreign homeland of reality”, where the pre-filmic, stripped of its immediacy, comes to its own right in the first place? Where in its mis-en-scène would be the line drawn to a fictional film, if drawing a line would succeed at all?

These are the kind of questions this film essay on the history and aesthetics of documentary film deals with in its seven chapters, its form decidedly incorporating the open motion of the quest. It is not about assigning rights or wrongs to individual protagonists or theorists of documentary film. Emphasised is the indecisive, ongoing dialogue with their ideas – in a kind of spatial experimental setup. We observe how Hartmut Bitomsky and his staff in turn watch films and relate them to each other. They are shown in a workspace equipped with several monitors and VHS recorders, theory books are piled up, now and then videocassettes with the next film examples are picked out and stage directions are being given. The intrinsic aesthetic value of the samples becomes secondary, what matters is the visual and ideational mediation work. For example, sequences of Humphrey Jennings’ SPARE TIME undergo an aestehtic translation. Following Bitomsky’s film, it will be shown in its entirety – what is stressed in the work of reference, what is left out?

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

17 April, 9 pm – Luru Kino at the Spinnerei – € 6,5 (5,5 red.)