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STILLS: A MOVIE

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by Linda Christanell

grade: 8.5

Stills: A Movie is a stream of consciousness, an affectionate and nostalgic look at what has been and what, even if only in the form of cards or photographs, continues to be today. What if, instead, it is primarily a simple yet complex reflection on art in all its forms? It is up to the viewer to draw his or her own conclusions at the end of the screening.

Fragments

In the 1920s, the famous Russian film director Lev Vladimirovich Kuleshov, totally fascinated by this new invention called cinema, began to closely study montage and all the potential and possibilities it offered. The discovery, therefore, that the meaning of an image could change depending on the image that preceded or followed it was to represent something totally revolutionary in the world of the newly born cinematic art. And so, the famous experiment to show us the power of the ‘Kuleshov effect’, carried out with the participation of the actor Ivan Mosjoukine (always filmed with the same expression whose meaning changed depending on the images with which it was associated), became a true milestone in film history. According to this principle, therefore, the short film Stills: A Movie was made, directed by artist, director and photographer Linda Christanell in 2013.

True to Kuleshv’s theories, then, Stills: A Movie consists of a series of photographs (mostly in black and white) edited one after the other. Only sporadic, short captions suggest memories and feelings of the protagonist. Images of tram tracks. A photograph together with a tram ticket. And again, images of roofs, old advertisements, city streets (where are we? Vienna? Lucerne?), old photographs arranged on a surface together with drawings. The inscription ‘Art is Concrete’.

In Stills: A Movie, made in collaboration with Hubert Sielecki, in his atelier, the captions make us think of memories of a bygone era (just like the black and white, along with the noise of a slide projector that accompanies us throughout the vision and which, as we approach the end, becomes increasingly frenetic). Of a lost love. Of a romantic yet melancholic autumn rainy day. Only sporadically does colour make its appearance on the movie screen. Past and present meet, collide, mingle, but it seems that the former almost always gets the better of the latter.

Stills: A Movie is a stream of consciousness, an affectionate and nostalgic look at what has been and what, even if only in the form of cards or photographs, continues to be today. What if, instead, it is primarily a simple yet complex reflection on art in all its forms? The few but essential words that appear in the images seem to speak volumes in this regard. Yet, at the same time, as already mentioned, it is the viewer who must draw his own conclusions at the end of the screening. Linda Christanell is well aware of this, and with this precious Stills: A Movie she has given us a beautiful gift, providing us, along with apparently abstract and highly contemplative images, also with interesting food for thought.

Original title: Stills: A Movie
Directed by: Linda Christanell
Country/year: Austria / 2013
Running time: 9’
Genre: experimental
Screenplay: Linda Christanell
Cinematography: Linda Christanell
Produced by: Linda Christanell, Hubert Sielecki

Info: the page of Stills: A Movie on the website of the sixpackfilm