Tuesday, February 09, 2016

in passing, Emigholz & Tahimik

Der zynische Körper / The Holy Bunch, Heinz Emigholz, 1990

A masterful and deeply moving avantgarde comedy that slowly but surely turns into a reflection on death. Emigholz's obsession with architecture is already fully present, as is his signature arrogance. But even more than his later films (I have still to catch up with most of his earlier work), DER ZYNISCHE KÖRPER made me understand that with him it's never about elitism, but always about finding at least some kind of shelter from an outside world which is not just hostile against art, but downright inhuman (the car actively leaving its course to make sure it hits the puddle and the beggar gets wet).

This is an unashamedly privatist film, with its canted, often head-centered framings gently detaching the actors from any fixed social context (just as the architecture films dissociate the material form of architecture from lived space). The english title THE HOLY BUNCH is spot on. Because these are really saints, or maybe rather slightly dark angels loving, tormenting, inventing, fucking each other.


Moonbuggy, Kidlat Tahimik, 1982

Kind of a PERFUMED NIGHTMARE spinoff which elaborates on the particularly strange German episode in Tahimik's first feature. In MOONBUGGY he hangs out on a farm in Upper Bavaria, looking for a way to travel to space. A few local kids assist him in his task.

Despite the equally hybrid nature of its visual material, MOONBUGGY is much more straighforward than NIGHTMARE, mostly because of a voice over commentary that never loses sight of the bigger picture. This bigger picture being, of course, not the space travel plot, but an at the same time proudly obscurantist and deeply political cosmology.

Like many great directors, Tahimik can be a bit obnoxious, both in his really not all that dialectically though through anti-americanism that boils down to fuck this western plastic shit; and in the strategic and stubborn overreach of his metaphors. Especially the latter is very much evident in MOONBUGGY, where everything just has to be Yo-Yo-like, or else.

But as always with Tahimik, he takes the liberty to leave all structural limitations behind, if he feels like it. An he often does. The encounter with the woman in the moon might just be the most beautiful scene he ever directed.

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