navelfable-1984-nabelfabel-mara-mattuschka-recensione-review-kritik

NAVELFABLE

      Comments Off on NAVELFABLE

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian) Deutsch (German)

by Mara Mattuschka

grade: 7.5

In NavelFable, Mara Mattuschka has opted for a minimalist yet highly experimental mise-en-scène. A simple stop-motion animation, together with extreme close-ups, details of screaming mouths covered by nylon stockings and drawings directly tracing the various rips on said stockings fully convey the idea of what the director wanted to communicate to us.

Masks

A filmmaker who from her very beginnings has proved to be particularly far-sighted and eager to experiment with every possibility the seventh art has to offer, Mara Mattuschka. This was already evident in her debut short film, NavelFable, made in 1984 and in which complex and topical themes are brought into play, within a mise-en-scene that is decidedly out of the ordinary.

Yes, because, in fact, in NavelFable happens in just under four minutes what we do not expect. On the movie screen appears something that we initially cannot identify. As the camera approaches that object, we seem to recognise a nylon fabric, thanks also to the sound of ripped nylon that we hear loud and clear. Then, suddenly, through a rudimentary stop-motion animation, we see the same object covered with newspaper pages. The pages are ripped one after the other and underneath them we see not one, but many women’s mouths – also printed on newspaper sheets – screaming. Only after the opening credits do we realise that what we had seen at the beginning was a woman’s head covered by many nylons. Will our protagonist manage to ‘break free’ from this unusual prison?

Mara Mattuschka herself appears in NavelFable as her alter ego Mimi Minus, whom we can meet again many times in her later films. Mimi Minus screams under her nylons. She tries hard to free herself. Then, finally, the stockings are ripped off one after the other. The true essence of the protagonist – as of every human being in general – is finally revealed to the viewer, once she is no longer forced to wear a mask. The mask that each of us wears every day in society.

In NavelFable, therefore, the director has opted for a staging that is as minimalist as it is extremely experimental. A simple stop-motion animation, together with extreme close-ups, details of screaming mouths covered by nylons and drawings directly tracing the various rips on the said nylons fully convey the idea of what the director wanted to communicate to us. We all, every day, wear a mask. Society expects certain behaviours and choices from us. But how difficult is it to wear a mask all the time? How much courage does it take to finally learn to accept oneself and be oneself?

Simple and complex at the same time, NavelFable is not afraid to experiment with new cinematic languages and to astonish the viewer with striking images in which one can also easily recognise a subtle irony and self-irony. Mara Mattuschka has never been in any doubt about the purpose of her cinema. And as we have seen, thanks to this courage and foresight of hers, she has succeeded in establishing herself as one of the most important names in contemporary Austrian avant-garde cinema.

Original title: NabelFabel
Directed by: Mara Mattuschka
Country/year: Austria / 1984
Running time: 4’
Genre: experimental
Cast: Mimi Minus
Screenplay: Mara Mattuschka
Cinematography: Mara Mattuschka
Produced by: Hochschule für angewandte Kunst Wien

Info: the page of NavelFable on iMDb; the page of NavelFable on the website of the sixpackfilm