Wednesday, July 3, 2013

"origins in Intolerance"

In yesterday's post I spoke of the relationship between cutting up a moose and cutting up film stock toward an edited film that has the hunting and butchering of that moose as its (unspoken) plot. In today's post I wanted to talk about two artists who approach the editing of film and video at opposing ends: Tamara Henderson, who uses story boards, laborious rehearsals and "edits" her films in-camera, and Isabelle Pauwels, who proceeds with scripted narrative material, but whose videos (particularly her latest) achieve their lyricism -- and overtone -- through an equally laborious post-production editing/writing regime.

As I said, I wanted to talk about these artists but am instead still thinking about Margarethe Von Trotta's most recent feature, Hannah Arendt (2012), which I saw at the Vancity Theatre last week. What haunts me most about this film is the director's ability to allow us to make the connection between what Arendt refers to as the unthinking "banality of evil" of Adolf Eichmann and the unthinking environment he helped to create in the form of the Nazi concentration camp, where all activity is "meaningless." That Von Trotta relies on our ability to think toward this connection (to form it, as it were) mirrors what Arendt learned from her mentor, Martin Heidegger, who, among other things, encouraged her to explore this very activity. Of course in leading us there, Von Trotta employs that which mirrors our own synaptic activity: editing.

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