“Once Upon A Time in Germany” – a Super 8 live project on tour

“Once Upon A Time in Germany” – a Super 8 live project on tour

Last Sunday, Lodderbast (“LDRBST”) made a stop with their mobile Super 8 cinema at the Filmgalerie in the “Leerer Beutel” venue in Regensburg.

LDRBST – that’s Wiebke and Johannes Thomsen from Hannover. The founders of the local off-cinema of the same name are currently touring Germany with their mobile Super 8 cinema and showing their found footage project “Once Upon A Time In Germany”.

For this film project, the two viewed quite a few kilometers of (West) German Super 8 amateur films from the 1960s to the 1980s. Footage with a running time of no less than 80 minutes was selected for the film and re-edited and edited by Wiebke Thomsen.

Usually in such found footage projects, the small format film is digitized, edited on the PC with video editing programs, and then projected with a video projector. Wiebke and Johannes Thomsen, however, have deliberately worked with the original film material and also present their project with a Super 8 film projector. The projection of the physically existing 40-60 year old original material is an essential part of their concept.

Projection is done with an Elmo GS 1200 Xenon – here set up in the auditorium of the film gallery

The film project is divided into two very different parts, which are also presented during the projection of two separate reels, with a short break during the change of acts.

Part 1 opens with a shockingly negative text about the Germans by Hugo Ball from the time of the Weimar Republic, and the following 40 minutes prove to be extremely unwieldy for the viewer. There is only deserted German flora and fauna to be seen in the first part, and the shaky continuous panning and zooming in the shots, which is customary for amateur films almost throughout, combined with a mostly slight blurring is elevated to a stylistic principle here. At the end of the first part, the viewer is glad to finally be able to briefly recognize a vacationer looking down into a valley, reminiscent of Caspar David Friedrich’s painting “Wanderer over the Sea of Fog”.

Part 2 opens with a text by Jörg Fauser from the 1970s. This text, too, which was thus created in the temporal context of the film shootings, is completely contrary in its statement to the (supposedly) ideal world of Super 8 home cinema. In the second part, we finally see the motifs that make historical found footage so appealing: People, their contemporary hairstyles and clothing, and their dwellings. The second part finds its climax in an seemingly always identical, wstern german, infinite party, no matter whether it was christmas, a birthday or a wedding as the occasion. You can literally smell the mustiness in the good parlors, the cigarette smoke and alcohol haze, and the sweaty polyester shirts.

The soundscore, a collage of the above-mentioned texts, sounds and music, was made by the filmmakers especially for the film. The recordings were made with an analog contemporary tape recorder. During the performances, the sound score is played live (not from tape, but as a digital file).

Lodderbast are on tour with their film project until the end of April. Dates and venues are listed here.

Klaus Schreier

hört Platten, fotografiert Kleinbild, filmt Schmal und dilettiert in der Dunkelkammer und am Schneidetisch

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