directors lounge monthly screenings
five stories>Thursday, 26 September 2019
by Roger Deutsch
Roger Deutsch has created a feature from 5 of his short films. He is an American who lives in Hungary. Five stories is a collection of very intimate stories, told to the camera: about people he met and about himself. The artist's films are a way of story-telling about the daily life of simple people. About the personal encounter between filmmaker and protagonists. A mixture between documentary and story telling similar to the way blues songs tell stories about daily life. His stories, shot with 16mm film and often narrated with his own voice, have a musical flow, which is connecting the films of very different times of his life. His interest lies in the dignity of simple people. Making them special, make the story of their life a special story.
In one of the shorts, he tells a story about working as a teacher for mentally disabled adults. He started the film just before he left his job. But he continued working with one group for several years on this film, meeting them. One man of the group starts to interact more directly with his filmmaking: "The testimony of Mario Caniero Sr." was the result of this interaction. From time to time, he hands over the film camera to Mario, and then in the film, he tells the story of their interaction with an off screen voice, and sometimes with written overlaid text. The value of their relation, initiated by the filming, becomes apparent, and the prospective loss through the forthcoming end of the project.
In is newest film from 2019, Roger talks to "himself" as an alter ego, trying to reason about art and life. He starts fighting and arguing with himself, not able to separate from the other self.
"...films of Roger Deutsch, works that hover over the issues of memory and disappearance and that cannily keep nostalgia at a distance while seeming to be drowning in it. Deutsch's illuminating picturings push close to film's ability to reactivate the feel of that which has disappeared; but rather than lolling in the shelter of the simulative, these films subtly questions their characters' relation to history and to their own deaths. They are portraits that remind us these characters are done, through with, no more: yet at the same time they bring them 'to life.' They question cinema's ability to formalize, to resuscitate and to re-represent the past." (Barbara Kruger: ARTFORUM)
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