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by Bady Minck

grade: 7.5

It immediately presents itself as a good blend of arts, Being and Nothingness. Music and film thus give rise to a completely innovative and unique product. And to this end, director Bady Minck has opted for a quite minimalist approach.

Pictures and music

An old bookshop in Vienna. A man enters the bookshop. He buys a sheet of music: the name Robert Schumann is written on the cover. The process of creation and reworking begins. And so begins also the short film Being and Nothingness, directed by Luxembourgian director Bady Minck in 2007, starring conductor Beat Furrer and the Klangforum Wien.

Listening and watching. We see what we hear. This is the principle behind Being and Nothingness. And as the musical notes cheer our ears, we see – filmed from above and on a large musical score – the musicians intent on playing. Each of them becomes bigger as it is their turn to play. Each of them, together with the other colleagues, creates a kind of singular choreography. An abstract and harmonious choreography representing a perfect blend of arts.

The title of the film takes its cue from Jean-Paul Sartre’s essay Being and Nothingness, according to which the existence of the human being precedes his very essence and in this context free will also plays a central role. Similarly to the human being himself, therefore, the essence of the musical composition only manifests itself on the screen after the man (in this case Beat Furrer) has reworked it and given precise instructions to the musicians. Before her, there was simply her existence. An essence, this one, that was carefully created first by Beat Furrer, then by Bady Minck. And in this important Being and Nothngness, in just ten minutes, we are shown the birth of a creation process, right up to the completion of the artwork itself.

It immediately presents itself as a good blend of arts, Being and Nothingness. Music and film thus give rise to a completely innovative and unique product. To this end, the director has opted for a minimalist approach: before the concert begins, we can only see Beat Furrer intent on choosing sheet music in the bookshop and working in his home. A short fade-out accompanies him outside his door. Then, finally, a single shot from above shows us the result of this process. There is no need for dialogue. The images (and music) speak for themselves.

Having always been interested in experimenting and creating new film languages, director Bady Minck with this short and precious Being and Nothingness – which together with the short film Seems to be together is part of the collection Free Radicals – has further proved her talent, her extraordinary ability to create with her camera and to give us each time new emotions and the possibility to observe reality from new perspectives and in completely innovative ways. Her particular directorial approach and style, therefore, fits well within a context – Austrian cinema – in which special attention has always been paid to experimental cinema and new ways of telling reality through pictures.

Original title: Das Sein und das Nichts
Directed by: Bady Minck
Country/year: Austria, Luxembourg / 2007
Running time: 10’
Genre: experimental, musical
Cast: Beat Furrer
Screenplay: Bady Minck
Cinematography: Jörn Staeger, Martin Putz
Produced by: Amour Fou Luxembourg, Amour Fou Vienna

Info: the page of Being and Nothingness on the website of Bady Minck; the page of Being and Nothingness on iMDb