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MARINE TARGET

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by Lukas Marxt

grade: 7.5

Lucas Marxt focuses first and foremost on a strong visual impact. And even in this short but important Marine Target, we notice a great attention to aesthetics, thanks to which the images shown to us almost take on the appearance of an abstract painting. An abstract and perfectly symmetrical painting, in which a precise contemplative mood contrasts well with the gravity of the facts shown to us. At the Viennale 2022.

In the waters of Salton Lake

A particularly renowned name at the Viennale, that of the young filmmaker Lukas Marxt. Only three years ago, at the Viennale 2019, in fact, the director presented the documentary Ralf’s Colors, where the contrast between the beauty of nature and what man has built over the years was strong and evident. This juxtaposition becomes even more striking in the short film Marine Target, which premiered at the Viennale 2022. Let’s see how.

As usual in the author’s works, here too images prevail over words, here too what is shown to us on screen immediately takes on an undisputed visual power. We find ourselves, then, in the middle of Salton Lake, California. A small platform is filmed from above. The camera moves closer and closer until it lands on it. Slowly, every single detail of it appears on screen. Nets, wires, and even dead birds are the result of the work of man, who never seems to care about nature and the well-being of the planet. Meanwhile, a mechanical voice, which at first seems to utter meaningless words, explains to us, little by little, what has happened and what has led to what we have just seen.

Lucas Marxt focuses first and foremost on a strong visual impact. And even in this short but important Marine Target, we notice a great attention to aesthetics, thanks to which the images shown to us almost take on the appearance of an abstract painting. An abstract and perfectly symmetrical painting, in which a precise contemplative mood contrasts well with the gravity of the facts shown to us.

Used to playing with colours and symmetries, Marxt has ensured that even in Marine Target blue, which is supposed to convey tranquillity and serenity, almost plays the leading role. At least until the camera begins to devote its full attention to the aforementioned platform. At this point, in fact, we see how the bright, vivid blue of Salton Lake is slowly “replaced” by the off-white of the platform, by the brown of its nets, by sad images of carcasses. Environmental protection is an increasingly urgent issue. And Lukas Marxt tells us this by showing us reality without any filter.

Nature is perfect as it is. Man can sometimes cause great damage. But is it really always like that? Precisely because of the particular visual approach adopted, it is impossible not to think, while watching Marine Target, of another interesting short film by Marxt: Reign of Silence, made in 2013. Here, too, we see how the human being is able to suddenly change the state of things, but, unlike in Marine Target, what he brings to life is something visually fascinating, a pure demonstration of beauty, although with “side effects”. In Reign of Silence, everything is harmony and two worlds somehow meet and respect each other. What we are shown in Marine Target, however, leaves very little hope for a better future.

Original title: Marine Target
Directed by: Lukas Marxt
Country/year: Austria, Germany / 2022
Running time: 9’
Genre: documentary, experimental
Screenplay: Lukas Marxt
Cinematography: Lukas Marxt
Produced by: Lukas Marxt

Info: the page of Marine Target on the website of the Viennale; the page of Marine Target on the website of the sixpackfilm