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by Viktoria Schmid

grade: 7.5

Viktoria Schmid has given us with this little and important NYC RGB one of the many facets of cinema itself. A demonstration of how filmmaking is, in reality, a political act, of how film never grows old, of how with a great willingness to experiment and to tread new paths, it is possible to achieve each time something new. At the Diagonale’23.

An unusual New York

The eternal struggle between digital and analogue. If, today, digital is increasingly being used (also) in film, we cannot fail to recognise that film has an extraordinary charm and excellent image rendering on screen. But if, nowadays, it is also possible to shoot a film simply with a mobile phone, there are many filmmakers who prefer the use of film. Among them, for example, is young Viktoria Schmid. How many uses can be made of film? The director has fun playing with it in her short film NYC RGB, which had its world premiere on the opening night of the Diagonale’23.

NYC RGB, then, is a very special film. A film that first of all shows us the beautiful city of New York through different perspectives and through “special filters”. These filters, then, are actually the film itself, here in a refined triple exposure realised in three different moments. The images, therefore, achieve a totally fascinating effect.

In NYC RGB, the city of New York seems almost like a timeless place. Or, better still, a place where time seems to stand still, where past and present meet, mingle, blend to create a beautiful harmony. Through the open window of a flat we see glimpses of the city. The Empire State Building, as well as the roofs of the buildings and the streets on which cars that seem almost “transparent” travel present decidedly saturated colours. Warm colours, colours that ‘explode’, giving us sharp contours, each of which presents a different nuance. Viktoria Schmid’s images have a decidedly retro touch, although they are, in fact, much more modern than they might initially seem.

What the director wanted to show with this precious little NYC RGB is precisely the fact that with film one can achieve effects that would not be possible at all with digital. Despite the fact that this is sometimes even considered “obsolete”. A few simple shots (all rigorously with a fixed camera) are enough to communicate this to us. There is no need for anything else. Similarly, minimalist music (by Liew Niyomkarn), shows us how the essential can sometimes turn out to be the best solution.

Viktoria Schmid has always been in love with cinema, to the point of making it – directly or indirectly – the protagonist of her works (just think, for example, of the short films A Proposal to Project – 2017 – and A Proposal to Project in Scope – 2020), and with this short and important NYC RGB she has given us one of the many facets of cinema itself. A demonstration of how filmmaking is, in reality, a political act, of how film never grows old, of how with a great desire to experiment and to travel new paths, it is possible to make each time something new, something that on screen is more alive and pulsating than ever.

Original title: NYC RGB
Directed by: Viktoria Schmid
Country/year: Austria, USA / 2023
Running time: 7’
Genre: experimental
Screenplay: Viktoria Schmid
Cinematography: Viktoria Schmid
Produced by: Viktoria Schmid

Info: the page of NYC RGB on the website of the Diagonale; the page of NYC RGB on the website of Viktoria Schmid