Bed of film
by Michael Baute and Antje Ehmann
For the second Travelling program of Bed of Film, we decided to take the subject literally— to deal with the cinematic and stylistic means of tracking shot. The more Travellings we sighted, collected, and excluded, the clearer it became: Travellings are difficult to compare, marked by the respective dispositions and authors' handwritings that the attempt to create a structural order is only possible while exerting a special feature on our subject.
Of course, one can try to name the variety.
There are rides that accelerate, to the zenith, to the necessary case of movement. (Carax, Mauvais Sang). Others follow the strict system of the exact tempo: the kph of a car journey, respectively, can correspond to the inner rhythm of a film in a heartbreakingly exact way (Kiarostami, across the olive grove) or run towards it, in order to anchor the film after a seemingly infinite long static sequence, loosening the threads of the plots and releasing them. (Heike Sander, Redupers). Then we have also the intervals, that are kept silent and charge the film with the concept of ’world’, all passed through without being commented. (Knockstein, The Silesian Gate, Hsou Hsiao-Hsien). Of course, Travellings are also popular ways of bringing the protagonists together in the most beautiful way. This would be the kinetic solution applied to the psychological-metaphorical, the transition from standstill to movement (Pasolini, Mamma Roma) or from one movement to another.– from the province to the metropolis. (Hou Hsiao-Hsien, Goodbye South Goodbye). The leitmotif of the movement in the circle (Kamensky, Divina Obsésion), which always recalls a prison, makes movement at all a sad trope. To think of something like the "last Travelling", which lets all the nuances of what movement can be, once again appear like an evening red. (Jafar Panahi, The Circle).
Just one example from Jean-Luc Godard’s film Weekend: this most famous case of a seven minute tracking shot paradoxically showing a traffic jam ... With Godard's films, which over four decades of Travellings have tested the most diverse, feel more than a "bed of film". Therefore we came up with the necessary restriction. We also want to leave Grandrieux's film Sombre and his disturbing Travellings to the viewer without comment. De Palma figures as the most splendid example with the greatest production-value and the most insane Travelling-ideas. A very different procedure is used by Gianikian / Ricci-Lucci (From the Pole to the Equator). Their films are Travellings through the history of film, where they take up many settings, which are journeys themselves. And each one recalls infinite possible and actual ones. The story consists of an inexhaustible arsenal of camera travels. We have put together some of them here, all from films—that's the rule—which we love.