Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Telemach Wiesinger's experimental monochrome travelogue hovers in the grey area where film meets art. Although it has some of the attributes of a documentary, he describes it as a "film poem" and it is best approached in that spirit - as a thought-provoking consideration of ideas rather than anything more prescriptive.

Using 16mm footage, he takes us on a journey from his home-town of Freiberg in Germany, through the nine places it is twinned with around the world. These are Guildford in Britain, Besançon in France, Granada in Spain, Innsbruck in Austria and Padua in Italy, along with farther flung destinations, Isfahan in Iran, Lviv in Ukraine, Madison in the US and Matsuyama in Japan. Using the sometimes similar, often contrasting, landscapes of each destination he offers a shifting perspective of each, frequently accompanying the empty landscapes of one area with the sounds of bustling crowds that have been captured in another. The effect is on the one hand dislocating and yet he also creates a dialogue between these disparate environments.

Copy picture

People drift through the scenes occasionally but are more like ghostly hints of civilisation, ephemeral against the landscape. At other times, we join Wiesinger's camera to take a phantom ride on a big wheel or on chair lift into the dark. Although the term avant-garde conjures images of men stroking their beards in pseudo-intellectual fashion, Wiesinger has a surprisingly light touch and a playful approach to the images he is capturing. Also, despite the film's experimental nature, it draws on decades of cinema that have gone before, evoking some of the earliest days in silent cinema. He invites us to examine structures old and new through pans and sometimes scrutinises the towns not through footage but through the negatives. He also invites us to question the constructed nature of what he is presenting through lingering images of photographs rippling under developing fluid.

Inevitably, some of the sections are more engaging than others, with shots of buildings seen in reflection particularly haunting. He is helped enormously by Cornelius Schwer's original scoring, which carries the action along - and lets us know that even when we are watching a black screen it is all part of the intention. At 65 minutes, however, this won't be for everyone - and despite the fact that it undoubtedly does have a culmulative impact, it would work well as an installation in a gallery that let people walk in and out as they wished.

Reviewed on: 15 Jul 2013
Share this with others on...
A documentary film poem, a travelogue, a twin town odyssey across the world.

Director: Telemach Wiesinger

Year: 2013

Runtime: 65 minutes

Country: Germany


EIFF 2013

Search database: