(W)all of the Lights

To be a filmer is to always work with light and time as your two most essential and basic particles. Perhaps, as I will ponder in this piece, and opposed to an opinion apparent in certain cinephilic circles, not always and exclusively with a physical one. Reading Gidal and Markopoulos during the past year, their books bestowed upon me a notion of filmic ‘’material’’ that I took and thought in too literal a manner.

At the end of my one and only day of being present at this year’s Âge d’Or festival in Brussels (6th – 11th October), filmer Birgit Hein gave a book presentation on Film als Idee, a publication in which, for the first time, several of her most important texts have been translated and collected – in English. What made it interesting to hear her speak, was that her intonation and what she said gave relevance to sentences that are in a sense overly familiar, would they have been uttered by different people in different contexts, Hein clearly knowing how and when to highlight the right words. And thus, also illuminating light and time in the aforementioned order.

To jump to a different plane, and to a different discussion, what then may possibly indicate an interesting filmer? Could it be that a good film (there, I’ve said it) first and foremost wisely employs (or spends attention to) light and time, tailored to each individual artistic ende(a)vour, and in the right amounts?

Because as I was listening to Kanye West’s song All of the Lights, I realized that what attracts most film-makers (not: filmers) to cinema is the supererogation of Lights and not of Times. Understandably so: light is everywhere, and can be (mis-)used at every time and at every place. And has a much more tangible element to it, plus: it is measurable. But can the same be said about time? When I’m meeting young filmmakers, most of the time, you can hear how they mistreat these basic particles not only in their films, but especially in everyday life. It is part of their speech and in their being. How we treat time informs how time treats us, and vice versa. Therefore they are, somehow, shut-off from the world. Blinded by a wall of light in which they wilfully wrap themselves. Wrapping themselves in illusions in which they make themselves believe // make-believe // that one can ignore the passage of such a Monstrosity.


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