Bäume im Herbst
A film by Kurt Kren
One of the first examples of structural activity in cinema, Bäume in Herbst (1960) is a 5 minute film, directed by avant-garde Austrian filmmaker Kurt Kren. In this film, the camera acts as a subjective observer, controlled within a structural or systematic procedure. In Bäume in Herbst, Kren simultaneously looks at and away from nature, presenting a group of trees as an optical experiment. Filming just their tops against a white background, removed from any referential element, they are observed as abstract visual entities. Organised with a strict rhythm and process of mathematical calculation, the film is a direct assault on the senses, overwhelming the viewer's vision, and resisting our attempts to consume or absorb it.
A film by Kurt Kren
TV is a 4 minute structural film by Austrian avant-garde filmmaker Kurt Kren. Best known for his involvement with the Vienna Aktionists, Kren created over 50 short films during his career between 1956 and 1996. Composed of five short sequences, TV is shot from the same static viewpoint in a quayside cafe. Framed like a proscenium, with a view towards the harbour, the scene is regularly broken by the silhouettes of objects and people moving about within the cafe and by a ship and the passers-by outside. Each shot containing movement is repeated in the film 21 times in a mathematically determined order, separated by short, equal sequences of black spacing, which act like punctuation. Sometimes the same shots follow each other, at other times, all five shots occur in one phrase, creating a deliberate reflexivity which encourages the viewer to actively decipher the film's structure.
These screenings will be followed by an example of Japanese Noh Theatre.
This film presents a live performance of Shōjō-midare from 1964, a masterpiece of Noh theatre. One of the oldest forms of drama still regularly practiced, Noh is a type of ancient classical Japanese musical theatre that was first developed in the 14th Century. Often based on traditional stories involving supernatural beings, it integrates masks, costumes and props into a stylized, highly codified dance-based play. Shōjō-midare is the celebratory, simple tale about a young man Kōfū and his encounters with an alcohol-loving ocean spirit called Shōjō, performed with special staging features in the 'midare' style. Categorised as one of the hiraki-mono plays – a group of dramas that demand highly advanced technique and experience to perform – it features comic and dramatic episodes in equal measure.