directors lounge monthly screenings
ode an den sommer
Saturday, 27 May 2017
Z-Bar Bergstraße 2
Ode an den Sommer — Ode to Summer
Berlin's cultural scene would not be the same, if filmmaker Dagie Brundert would not be around. The artist started off in the 90's with some female colleagues as FBI, Freie Berliner Ischen. With ironic and unconventional films they challenged established and artsy art forms, skewed films spiced up with resonances of Camp and Beat, as it reverberated in some young circles in the first decade after the breakdown of the wall. Since then, Brundert stuck to her guns of Super-8 filmmaking with admirable creative productivity. She records everyday occurrences, the obvious things on sight and the things offside, however always dispersing a positive message.
The new program at Z-Bar presents a number of brand new films, one premiere ("Widerstand", resistance 2017) and a few rare early films.
“Ode an Juni 4 " (2016, Ode to June), the film giving the name to this program, is one of the few medium long films by Brundert. And, it is part of her favorite seasonal project. She has planned to record a film about June every year. Film developing in biological developer, a trip to the film festival Hamburg, establishing a new dark room, a bath in lake Teufelssee and the hand written numbers of the days are some of the scenes of last years diary, all of which being hand-developed, digitally edited and underscored with summer tunes. It is the small things in the film, the joys of everyday life, which, condensed by a combination of time-lapse and short cuts, makes the film poetic and amiable. It is this delight about exceptional but unspectacular moments, which still opposes the garish images of the media or the attempts of "going viral" on social media, and which still reminds me of the bearings of the Beats, especially the writings of Jack Kerouac. The reason for recording this or that image is not preservation, nor to share it as an image ("look what I found"), rather, it seems to be an ongoing, light and humorous search for the sense of life without the need for the big question of "Life, the Universe and Everything". It abides by popular culture but not by consumerism.
The affinity to certain themes of American culture may also have resonated in a number of trips, and films, to the United States. The chance to give classes in film developing, and to present films, also gives opportunity to film recording. Of course, Los Angeles invites for some short road movie. "Alvarado/ Sunset" (2013) is the name of a crossing in LA. "704" (2009), on the other hand the name of a bus line going to Santa Monica, stopping at "Ocean". And Dagie may be the only filmmaker who made a road movie in Los Angeles happily using a bus line!
For some time, Dagie Brundert not only became enthusiastic about the possibilities to develop film with alternative, biological developers, but she made films, which are basically DIY instructions on how to use for example red wine, wodka or coffee for developing films. Those ingredients from fruits containing tanins and bitter substances are active to reduce the silver halides of film emulsion to visible silver crystals. The film "Kartoffel" (2013, potato) is still very much influenced by this "genre", however with a witty twist: Dagie shows, how to use potatoes in order to make potato-printed titles, and then uses the same potatoes for the development of the film.
In another film, "Bin ich reich, bin ich reich, bin ich reich" (Am I rich, rich, rich? 2015) the artist makes a film about a dream she had. In the style of amateur film narration (I tell you what you see), we see the artist climbing up a wall in a castle and finding a treasure box full of fake gold jewelry. The whole film has a golden cast, due to the development with coffee and lemon juice. The film has a typical Dagie humour between slap-stick moments and simple beauty. In her first person voice-over, she alternates her position between diegetic narration of the story and comments about the making of the film. As a whole, the film becomes an interpretation of her dream and a reflection on rich moments including the joys about glitter.
"Lametta" (2016) is a film mainly about a country-site visit, a village portrait of Lamerden. Brundert, however, introduces Lametta to give the village some glitter, and she introduces a play on the word. Then again, we see the artist collecting the winter apples, which will serve for the development of the film. Those seemingly unrelated topics are coming together with the narration of the artist, and the aesthetic of black and white Super-8 developed in the juice of those apples.
It is fascinating to see how Brundert has resolutely followed her path for many years, and interesting to see how she now goes back, sometimes, to a variety of forms she used in the past, during the times of FBI. On the other hand, a more descriptive style of diary also has formed. The savvy viewers and the friends, however, do not expect new experimental forms from Dagie, but they like to follow her frame of mind, the lighthearted way to look at life. Her films often have the effect of a line of a pop song that suddenly enters your mind and changes the way you look at yourself or your surrounding.
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