Ars Electronica 2003
Festival-Website 2003
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Festival 1979-2007



Codes did not come into existence with the advent of programmable machines; long before this, the cinema itself, as a still largely non-digital medium, had developed codes, which we now regard as something to be taken completely for granted and which are therefore difficult to reflect upon.

But the history of film is, among other things, always a history of the depiction of codes—of communication that accompanies the language, that gets around it and transcends it. This series of films attempts to open up a realm in which code is defined and interpreted in highly diversified fashion, and where it can become apparent that every code bears complex possibilities as well as secrets for its users.

Jenseits der Stille
D 1996. 100 min. Director: Caroline Link.

Laura grows up as a non-hearing-impaired daughter of deaf parents. In this melodrama, she moves back and forth between a speaking world and a silent one, and must ultimately defend her love for playing the clarinet against her father’s lack of understanding.

Kira (Dogma #21)
DK 2001. 94 min. Director: Ole Christian Madsen.

The Austrian premiere of a drama shot according to the rules of Dogma 95. Following her stay in a psychiatric facility, Kira’s behavior calls into question bourgeois conceptions of marriage, motherhood and the representation of social status.

USA 1997. 85 min. Director: Darren Aronofsky.

With the help of Cabala and the Pi constant, Max Cohen is attempting to discover a mathematical code that explains the world. Meanwhile, he’s being pursued by an unscrupulous Wall Street firm and a Jewish sect. When he finally succeeds in breaking the code, Max makes a discovery for which all are ready to kill him.

The Pillow Book
GB/NL/F 1996. 123 min. Director: Peter Greenaway.

Greenaway’s visually opulent and expressive tribute to the art of calligraphy. A young Japanese woman whose father paints her body with pictograms every year on her birthday until she becomes an adult flees from an arranged marriage. Then she finds a man whose own body awakes in her the desire to begin writing herself.

Im Anfang war der Blick
A/LUX 2002. 45 min. Director: Bady Minck.

The avant-garde filmmaker has assembled thousands of postcards into a critical reconquest of idyllic Biedermeier landscapes. In breathtaking montages, she penetrates the sultry colorfulness of the postcards without ever succumbing to their campy charms.

Preliminary Short: Fast Film.
A/Lux 2003. 14 min. Director: Virgil Widrich.

A chase scene through film chase scenes, staged with found footage consisting of individual images of chase scenes that have been printed out and animated on paper.

Code inconnu
F/D 2000. 116 min. Director: Michael Haneke

Michael Haneke’s theme is communication and how it doesn’t come about (any more), or does so only through acts of violence. In fragmentary, brilliantly narrated episodes, he plumbs the depths of various codes in this puzzling game in search of their
relevance to the present.

Film ist. 1- 6 / 7 – 12
A 1998 / 2002. 60 min / 93 min. Director: Gustav Deutsch.

This gigantic tableau film presented as a work in progress focuses on a number of different aspects of film and its history—for example, movement and time, light and darkness, a mirror, magic, conquest, feeling and passion.

Die Schönste
East Germany 1957. 86 min / 58 min. Director: Ernesto Remani.

The loss of a valuable necklace transforms a spoiled West Berlin socialite; she then vows to give up the wasteful lifestyle she’s been leading and to place kindness and goodness above wealth and possessions.

On hand are the 1957 original version (86 min.) that was not approved by the Communist Party’s Central Committee, as well as the abridged version (58 min) that also includes an additional subplot featuring actor Manfred Krug but otherwise has been radically cut. The comparison of the two is a fascinating exercise that enables viewers to take a retrospective look at the big picture of cultural policymaking in
East Germany.
Line-up of Films from the Film/Video Program
at the School of Art and Design Zurich
This line-up of films was put together especially for presentation at Ars Electronica by the staff of the Film/Video Program in the Department of Media and Art at the School of Art and Design Zurich. It features a representative sample of student films ranging from early undergraduate exercises to degree projects produced at the conclusion of a four-year course of study.

Enhanced digital tools certainly have had an impact on the latest work being done by Swiss student filmmakers; nevertheless, most of the productions by film students in Zurich—dramatic features as well as documentary filmmaking—display a rather stronger interest in narrative plot structures. Many convey the filmmaker’s pursuit of his/her own personal form of aesthetic expression.

Thus, the undergrad exercise wald.exe is a response to new compositing possibilities using simple digital means. Faster Movie Kill Kill Kill, on the other hand, represents an oppositional attitude towards digital techniques, and this work intentionally thematicizes filmmaking on celluloid. Amnesie attempts to use an idiosyncratic video aesthetic to enable its audience to cinematically experience the state of unconsciousness of the film’s female protagonist. The trio of degree projects on the program displays the broad spectrum of approaches possible in such films. Timing is a work in the sci-fi genre dealing with the manipulation of time (including “film-time”). Der Komplex is a documentary film in the form of a collage expressing the simultaneity of the real situation of many residents of a high-rise housing project. Finally, Wunderland is a cinematic essay created with minimal production resources; unencumbered by laborious shooting techniques, the filmmaker has created—in the form of a cinematic postcard—a poetic documentation of his personal father-son relationships.
Thomas Gerber, 2002, Beta SP, color, 1:40 min.
By a pond on a sunny morning in May, a frog becomes a witness to how flora and fauna are slowly turning topsy-turvy.

Faster Movie, Kill Kill Kill
Thomas Isler, 1995, 16mm, b/w, 3:20 min.
A celebration in five acts of speed, aggression, intoxication and joy—an experimental attempt to reach the filmmaker’s physical and mental limits.

Der Komplex
Fabienne Boesch, degree project 2002, 35mm (Faz), color & b/w, 30 min.

Approximately 800 people representing different ethnic groups and social classes live in Zurich’s Lochergut high-rise housing project. A declaration of love of cultural exchange, neighborly tolerance and charming eccentricity.

Chris Niemeyer, degree project 1999, 35mm (Faz), b/w, 15 min.

A sci-fi thriller in which time has become merely a question of drugs. In CIP, a privately managed prison, Dr. Block manipulates an inmate’s perception of time. When Claire Lobos, the facility’s psychologist, finds out about it, she has to use
Dr. Block’s drugs to rescue the prisoner and herself.

Anne-Catherine Kunz, 1999, Beta SP, color, 7 min.

“My mother says I’m just like my grandmother—she simply went to sleep and didn’t want to get up anymore.”—Thoughts of a daughter in a hospital at 9:59 on a Sunday morning.

Michael Hertig, degree project 2000, 35mm (Faz), color, 11:20 min.

A postcard. A short story about a vacation in a land without borders. Images. A
journey. Nothing is fixed, all is in motion. The only constant is that everything is
undergoing change and doing so unremittingly. The wonderland is exploding.

In cooperation with Moviemento, Linz.

Supplementary Notes:

The Film/Video Program has been offered for 11 years in Zurich. With 50 students, it provides the most comprehensive training in filmmaking available in Switzerland. The faculty members are Prof. Lucie Bader, Prof. Margit Eschenbach, Prof. Marille Hahne, Prof. Bernhard Lehner. The course of instruction also features numerous series of specialized seminars conducted by Swiss independent filmmakers. The “Jubiläum-Jubilee” DVD in the exhibition of works from the Department of Media and Art includes 17 additional student productions along with detailed and comprehensive supplementary material.