surface-seance-2023-heindl-recensione-review-kritik

SURFACE SÉANCE

      Comments Off on SURFACE SÉANCE

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

by Michael Heindl

grade: 7.5

In Surface Séance, one has the sensation of being thrown around in an endless black space with a strong smell of iron and melted brakes, with the shapeless white mass as a guiding spirit. An abstract and subliminal journey into everyday city life. At the Vienna Shorts 2024.

Under the streets of Vienna

In competition at the Vienna Shorts 2024, from May 28 to June 2, Michael Heindl’s newest work is a synaesthetic experience that challenges sight and hearing in his highly personal interpretation of a night-time journey in the Viennese underground. That is why, watching the 4 minutes and more of Surface Séance, one has the sensation of being thrown around in a black and infinite space with a strong smell of iron and melted brakes, with the shapeless white mass as a guiding spirit. An abstract and subliminal journey into everyday city life.

Non-opaque glossy black, background noise similar to the erasures of that hard eraser which like few could pierce the notebook paper and a white vortex destined to change shape very often. This is how Michael Heindl’s Surface Séance begins, an alternation of millisecond-long flashing frames and a battle waged by this shapeless mass, now an open hand now persuasive lips. It is impossible to spoil this short film: even if you wanted to tell it step by step, without having missed any subliminal prime – by definition able to persuade the viewer and direct the continuation of the show – you would not be able to give the idea of the visual and non-visual stimuli and inputs. From a keyboard to the word fuck, from the Dior sign to the Adidas brand, Surface Séance orchestrates an exploratory symphony of Vienna, presented here in an unconventional way and in a new light. While remaining in the dark for much of its running time.

Thanks to technically good abstract animation, one can glimpse – indeed, perceive – human bodies ‘smeared’ over different areas and surfaces, but always alternating with the white vortex in progress. It is the panta rei of a city of two million inhabitants and as many daily visitors, made up of images, sounds, speed and nuances. The only real, physical incursion that this example of abstract cinematography allows itself is a pan shot in an empty underground car, filmed at night. Everything Surface Séance shows, from the fish to the skeleton, is in perfect harmony with Flora Rajakowitsch’s soundtrack, which sounds and screeches at the same time, as if a finger were drawing from a dripping brush the raw material to draw on glass. Who hasn’t done that with condensation on car windows? There, that.

Linz-born director Michael Heindl thus continues his analytical investigation into the contradictions and paradoxes of humans – by transitive property, also of their actions – in times of climate and capitalist crisis such as the present. Already awarded the Innovative Award at the Crossing Europe 2020 and the Jury Prize at the Vienna Shorts 2021, with Surface Séance, Heindl creates a scintillating lysergic and electronic fresco, elevating a nocturnal journey on the Wiener U-Bahn to a veritable study of cinematic abstraction. Forget the famous killer video from The Ring and the Starbucks glass frames from Fight Club: here we are talking about everyday signs, billboards, public transport and how the swarm’s perception of the outside world is fleeting and changeable. ‘Blink and you miss it’ says the introduction in the Sixpackfilm catalogue. That’s right.

Original title: Surface Séance
Directed by: Michael Heindl
Country/year: Austria / 2023
Running time: 5’
Genre: experimental
Screenplay: Michael Heindl
Cinematography: Michael Heindl
Produced by: Michael Heindl

Info: the page of Surface Séance on the website of the Vienna Shorts; the page of Surface Séance on the website of the sixpackfilm