Mosaik Méchanique

Mosaik Méchanique


Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

This is a Charlie Chaplin silent film, really, cut apart and reassembled. A patchwork quilt of a picture, a grid 14 by seven, with each scene of the original playing simultaneously.

In the 98 smaller screens are the start and end of the reel, eight title cards, and looping over and over each small snippet of picture. As they repeat the soundtrack too exercises in simultaneity, the music from each scene overlapping with the others. Though it's not all of the music, but perhaps some handful of scenes, and then the next, and then the next.

As it rolls on there's the chance to watch from one section to another, to pop forward and back, it all just about hanging together. Pfaffenbicher's work can be argued as a reaction to traditional editing, but traditional editing works. By breaking apart the film as he has, he extends the invitation to the audience to try to reassemble it. That the segments are presented in sequence, or at least in reading order just means that he has substituted geometry for chronology; it ought to be remembered that Ang Lee's Hulk did the same, and also managed to serve as an homage to the layout of comic books.

For all its worth, Mosaik Méchanique can't escape the feeling that it would be nicer to just watch the original.

Reviewed on: 03 Jul 2008
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Experimental exploration of a silent film.

Director: Norbert Pfaffenbichler

Year: 2008

Runtime: 10 minutes

Country: Austria


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