January 25, 2005
Fast Film, 2003
Experimental filmmaker Peter Kubelka reinforces the idea that film is a tactile artistic medium that, like all forms of art, not only requires hands-on, physical construction and manipulation by the artist, but also serves as a tangible archive (or archaeological artifact) for communicating and articulating a constantly evolving cultural legacy within a specific timeframe of human history - a social contemporaneity that gives the created work its significance. As modern art serves as both a cumulative expression and a novel reinterpretation of existing art - which, by definition, extends even to the primitive, "found art" of ancient cave paintings - so, too, does the process of creating a film become an expression, integration, and reconstitution of existing and "found art" (and specificially for filmmaking, is an entire history of cinema) that came before it. Kubelka's philosophy is evidently not lost on fellow Austrian filmmaker, Virgil Widrich's intelligently conceived and infectiously inventive experimental short, Fast Film, a clever and delirious tongue-in-cheek homage to cinema through indelible images of film excerpts and personalities that have been transferred or projected onto folded, origami-like, or otherwise manipulated (pasted, punched, crumpled, frayed, or torn) paper. Presenting a simple (and intentionally formulaic) narrative through threaded conventional movie plotlines of romance, damsel in distress, suspense, and human drama - including requisite doses of action through train sequences and airplane dogfights - Widrich pushes the conceptual bounds of artistic integration of found footage by literally composing a film entirely from recycled "old" art and ingeniously transforms it into an a novel, idiosyncratically original, and evocatively expressive work that is simultaneously innovative and visually abstract, yet syntactically intuitive and reverently familiar.