Night Sight 2012

Deathwatch with (a Lot of) Cholesterol

(Markus Keuschnigg, curator)

“We do no longer know our dark sides. We stop smoking, stop drinking, what else do we give up? How can anything interesting come out of that? E veryone just keeps watching their cholesterol.” That is what the exceptional German director Domink Graf said in an interview with Artechock. de. This year’s Night Sight selection shows high-fat films. Because they defy the predominant logic of production, because they are daring and unreasonable. They are a risk investment.

Hell in any case: the outrageous experiment in apocalypse stands like a monolith in the midst of the hazardous waste deposit of German narrative cinema. A producer like Roland Emmerich was needed to make the extraordinarily sensuous debut by Tim Fehlbaum fly at all. In Bernd-Eichinger-land, genre cinema is still associated with the stigma of failure, irreproachability and obnoxiousness, if it is not disguised as a Nazi mini-drama, slapstick comedy or Til Schweiger romantic entanglement story.

Óskar Thór Axelsson also secured help from “high up” to provide the first entry in the gangster film canon for the corroding film culture of Iceland. Svartur á Leik (Black’s Game), produced by none other than the Danish violence poet and Crossing E urope darling Nicolas Winding Refn, is highly indecent in its hyper-kinetic formalism. Innocence cowers, wedged in between camera poses and posing dudes: a relict of the last millennium.

The program revenants also go to the limits anew. In Livide, the Gallic duo of Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo remixes the horror gothic motif of the “haunted mansion”: instead of excesses of violence as in their debut film À l’intérieur (Inside; Night Sight 2008), this time they serve up atmospheric tapestries; instead of a dramaturgy of stimulation- response, they rely on ephemeral vibrations. Livide is a film of unconditional passion, a commercial harakiri by two fanboys, who were fucked by Hollywood and have returned to the bosom of France. There, where cinematic individualists are still liked and appreciated and revered. Against all reason. Despite all risks.

The two Spanish “Night Sight” contributions are radical as well: with their directorial co-effort [RE C] (Night Sight 2008; followed by [RE C]² in Night Sight 2010), Jaumé Balaguero and Paco P laza re-invented hysteria cinema. Now one is following in the footsteps of Hitchcock, conjuring up a sublimely crafted suspense miniature not unironically titled Mientras Duermes (Sleep Tight).

And the other hauls the REC series back into the past: [RE C]3 Genesis hurls the shaky camera into the corner, tears down the house of horror and flees into a new, deceptive freedom. Now the monsters are ghost train figures in a vulgarly nasty, in the best sense raw splatter comedy that in the end turns out to be a love story. So let’s hold a deathwatch for these delightful revenants and newcomers and their stories. For all those who still drink and feast and burp and fart. For all who are still alive.