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NEUE FENSTER

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by Friedl vom Gröller

grade: 7.5

Neue Fenster is a kind of “return to the origins”, when we still had to become familiar with this new, bizarre invention that was the cinematograph. Just as the light from the projector illuminates the screen, the light coming in through the new windows at vom Gröller’s house is about to offer us not one, but many new spectacles. At the Viennale 2022.

New perspectives

Looking through an open window. Looking at a new world, of which there is still so much to discover. But what happens when new windows are installed? Does everything remain the same or does the world outside change again and offer us many new realities to discover? And, above all, how can looking out of the window make us think of a film projection? Filmmaker and photographer Friedl vom Gröller tried to stage this similarity in her short film Neue Fenster, which premiered in Austria at the Viennale 2022, where she also presented a second work of hers: the short film Drowned.

Perfectly coherent with her works, therefore, Neue Fenster is part of a series of black and white short films, all made in Super 8. Friedl vom Gröller is particularly fond of this technique and this particular directorial approach. And in each of her works, cinema and metacinema meet to create something totally unique and subjective. In Neue Fenster, therefore, the cinematic spectacle takes place in the director’s own home. Some workers have come to her house to install some new windows. A perfectly normal situation within everyone’s everyday life. Yet when this happens before Friedl vom Gröller’s eyes (and camera), everything immediately takes on very symbolic connotations.

A few simple shots simply show us what is happening. Workers put up the windows. An almost blinding light enters from outside. Each shot runs for only a few seconds. We can only vaguely imagine what is happening outside. Then, finally, each of the workers poses before the camera. One by one, the director shows us their faces in close-up. And, as usual in the author’s work, at the end of the film, a simple sheet of paper on which is just written “FvG 2022” is never missing.

Neue Fenster – like many of vom Gröller’s short films – relies on an apparent simplicity that, however, in reality turns out to be much more complex and full of meaning than it might initially seem. Neue Fenster is a sort of “return to the origins”, when one still had to become familiar with this new, bizarre invention that was the cinematograph. Just as the light from the projector illuminates the screen, the light entering through the new windows in vom Gröller’s house is about to offer us not one, but many new spectacles.

New windows, new perspectives. A new way of observing reality, many new realities to discover. In this precious little short film of hers, Friedl vom Gröller leaves nothing to chance. On the contrary, everything is studied down to the smallest detail. And even black and white and deliberately rough, almost elementary images prove to be essential elements in staging it all. How, then, will the reality outside the window change, now that the old windows are no more? To find out, one simply has to observe one’s surroundings with the innocent and curious eyes of a child.

Original title: Neue Fenster
Directed by: Friedl vom Gröller
Country/year: Austria / 2022
Running time: 3’
Genre: experimental
Screenplay: Friedl vom Gröller
Cinematography: Friedl vom Gröller
Produced by: Friedl vom Gröller

Info: the page of Neue Fenster on the website of the Viennale; the page of Neue Fenster on the website of the sixpackfilm