Wide Experience


Instructions for a Light and Sound Machine.

Peter Tscherkassky’s CinemaScope films are experimental films, but they are, first and foremost, films of experience. The aesthetic research that connects this trilogy — L’Arrivée (1997/98), Outer Space (1999), and Dream Work (2001) — and Instructions for a Light and Sound Machine (2005) is displayed in the stirring use of the wide format, which highlights the uniqueness and coherence of these works.

Jim Hillier notes that experimental and avant-garde films try to escape the conventional even when they are narrative. They are “likely to explore organising structures other than narrative ones or, when narrative-based, to explore different processes and possibilities.”[1] Such cinematic works can pursue “questions which conventional narrative films would not even remotely consider, such as questions about the nature of the photographic image, or related questions about the tension between representation and abstraction in film.”[2] In analysing Su Friedrich’s Sink or Swim (1990), he considers the film categorically narrative and claims that “like many avant-garde films, its perplexing qualities are essential and integral to the pleasure(s) it provides.”[3] The same may be said about Tscherkassky’s body of work.

Tscherkassky’s cinema is a meta-cinema, which we may take simply as a “mark of modernity,” but that in this case is not merely conceptual, but also experiential. The Austrian filmmaker shows the film stock, displays the process of editing, that is to say, puts the materiality of film on view. Connected with these actions, his films showcase an interest in the intense emotional effect of cinematic experience. In a sense, it is accurate to describe the material from which Instructions for a Light and Sound Machine was composed as found footage — taken from Il buono, il brutto, il captive (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, 1966), directed by Sergio Leone. Some filmmakers go on a quest to find certain images (Oliver Pietsch) or to create large organised archives (Matthias Müller), Tscherkassky finds a new film in an existing film. This is why Drehli Robnik is able to read Tscherkassky’s film and Leone’s film together. The worn-out bodies that inhabit the western spaghetti are devoted to gold rush as a kind of fetishisation; they resist being abstracted from their physicality and Instructions for a Light and Sound Machine presents intervening times and spaces populated by living dead without place or goal.[4] The marks and instructions are unique to the film and to each one of its copies like the figures and scenes are distinctive of Il buono, il brutto, il captive. Tscherkassky manipulates them, creating a new narrative that distinguishes “Eli Wallach’s Tuco from Leone’s main figures, the nameless Saxons: Lee Van Cleef’s ‘Angel Eyes’ and Clint Eastwood’s ‘Blondie’ or ‘man with No Name’,”[5] a new figurative structure, and a new immense experience.


[1] Jim Hillier, “Swimming and Sinking: Form and Meaning in an Avant-garde Film”, in Style and Meaning: Studies in the Detailed of Film, ed. John Gibbs and Douglas Pye (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2005), p. 155.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Ibid., p. 166.
[4] Drehli Robnik, “Interventions in Saint Hill: On the Messianic Materialism of Peter Tscherkassky’s Instructions for a Light and Sound Machine”, in Peter Tscherkassky, ed. Alexander Horwath and Michael Loebenstein (Vienna: Filmmuseum Synema Publikationen, 2005), pp. 84-86.
[5] Ibid., p. 88.

V Encontro de Jovens Investigadores do CEIS20


Mundo Sur/real (6)


L’Invention du monde (“A Invenção do Mundo”, 1952).

Rendez-vous à Bray (Encontro em Bray, 1971).

Céline et Julie vont en bateau (“Céline e Julie Vão de Barco”, 1974).

Serão mostrados amanhã nas Sessões do Carvão, os primeiros às 18:30, o segundo às 21:30, na Casa das Caldeiras.


“Mundo Sur/real”: (1) | (2) | (3) | (4) | (5)

As Imagens Ressonantes


Agatha et les lectures illimitées (“Agatha ou as Leituras Ilimitadas”, 1981).

A vigésima edição dos Caminhos do Cinema Português começou há uma semana. Esta edição integra, pela primeira vez, um simpósio sobre a fusão da artes no cinema no qual vou participar como orador convidado. O encontro científico decorre hoje no Anfiteatro IV da Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Coimbra.

De manhã, apresento a comunicação intitulada “As Imagens Ressonantes: A Escrita Fílmica de Marguerite Duras”, às 11:00. De tarde, modero a Sessão II, entre as 14 e as 15:30. O programa detalhado do evento está disponível nesta página.

Mundo Sur/real (5)


Meshes of the Afternoon (Armadilhas da Tarde, 1943).

El topo (1970).

Trzecia czesc nocy (“A Terceira Parte da Noite”, 1971).

Serão mostrados amanhã nas Sessões do Carvão, os primeiros às 18:30, o segundo às 21:30, na Casa das Caldeiras.


“Mundo Sur/real”: (1) | (2) | (3) | (4)

Mundo Sur/real (4)


La Nez (“O Nariz”, 1963).

Les Abysses (“Os Abismos”, 1963).

Suna no onna (“A Mulher das Dunas”, 1964).

Serão mostrados hoje nas Sessões do Carvão, os primeiros às 18:30, o segundo às 21:30, na Casa das Caldeiras.


“Mundo Sur/real”: (1) | (2) | (3)

Mundo Sur/real (3)


Spare Time (“Tempo Livre”, 1939).

Dreams That Money Can Buy (“Sonhos que o Dinheiro Pode Comprar”, 1947).

L’Année dernière à Marienbad (O Último Ano em Marienbad, 1961).

Serão mostrados amanhã nas Sessões do Carvão, os primeiros às 18:30, o segundo às 21:30, na Casa das Caldeiras.


“Mundo Sur/real”: (1) | (2)

V Mostra de Cinema da Amazónia