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SUPER-8-GIRL GAMES

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by Ursula Pürrer and Hans Scheirl

grade: 7.5

Lively, ironic, colourful and incredibly vibrant, Super-8-Girl Games perfectly represents all the creativity of two sharp gazes eager to find and experiment with new film languages. Although amateurish, films shot in Super-8 have always fascinated viewers and filmmakers alike. Ursula Pürrer and Hans Scheirl proved this once again.

Frenetic thunderbolts

Two young women play in a room. What are they playing? On closer inspection, it would seem that the two are intent on some sort of tennis match. Yet they are not on a tennis court, nor are they holding tennis rackets. What they are actually throwing at each other would seem to be a kind of thunderbolt. A thunderbolt made strictly by hand on the film, shot entirely in Super 8. Not only, therefore, the unusual game between the two women, but also the entire film would suggest a kind of game. And, indeed, the title already speaks for itself. In Super-8-Girl Games – made in 1985 – in fact, the two directors, Ursula Pürrer and Hans Scheirl, who also star in the film, had fun shooting and editing a series of apparently amateur films made in their homes over a couple of years.

Not one, but many thunderbolts and as many abstract drawings peep onto the screen, move frantically, become the absolute protagonists of this bizarre and amusing Super-8-Girl Games. The two filmmakers, for their part, in little more than two minutes have not only paid homage to cinema itself and to all the possible forms it can take, but also – and above all – they have been able to depict human bodies almost as ‘objects’. Simple objects at the service of the abstract (and of cinema), individual instruments within an orchestra in which rudimentary (but sophisticated and not at all banal) special effects, together with simple but impactful sounds, give the whole thing an amusing and entertaining character.

Super-8-Girl Games is one of the many gems of Austrian experimental cinema. The two directors are therefore part of a large group of filmmakers who – each in their own way – have enjoyed playing with this new medium of artistic expression, making Austria itself one of the most prolific European nations in terms of experimental cinema itself. At the same time, they both treasure what has been made in the past (it is impossible not to think of the films made by the painter Maria Lassnig and her important discourse on the human body), while at the same time creating something new with its own, marked personality.

Lively, ironic, colourful and incredibly vibrant, Super-8-Girl Games perfectly represents all the creativity of two sharp gazes eager to find and experiment with new film languages. Although amateurish, films shot in Super-8 have always fascinated viewers and filmmakers alike. Ursula Pürrer and Hans Scheirl proved this once again.

Original title: Super-8-Girl Games
Directed by: Ursula Pürrer, Hans Scheirl
Country/year: Austria / 1985
Running time: 2’
Genre: experimental
Cast: Ursula Pürrer, Hans Scheirl
Screenplay: Ursula Pürrer, Hans Scheirl
Cinematography: Ursula Pürrer, Hans Scheirl
Produced by: Ursula Pürrer, Hans Scheirl

Info: the page of Super-8-Girl Games on the website of the sixpackfilm; the page of Super-8-Girl Games on the website of the Diagonale