A Night At Märchenfilme By Mike White. Welcome to the Elaborate Empire of Ache. Herein there are no words. There is no color. Everything you see hides behind the dust, scratches, and grain of the ages...
Welcome to the Elaborate Empire of Ache. Herein there are no words. There is no color. Everything you see hides behind the dust, scratches, and grain of the ages. Images flicker along to pulsating rhythms. There is nothing natural here. Movement is stilted, slowed, or speeded. Shadows abound and eye make-up is plentiful. This empire of ache originates from the cinema primeval, an extension of early experiments in expressionism. This is filmmaking capable of evoking a visceral response to the seemingly simple oneiric monochrome images and overtly complex soundtrack. These are sights and sounds that don't belong to the world. These are visions that remain on the periphery of conventional modern narrative. They have been summoned out of the darkness by the talented Lisa Hammer and the members of her Blessed Elysium Moving Film Company, submitted for your approval in A Night of Märchenfilme.
A collection Hammer's films spanning 1987-96, A Night of Märchenfilme is presented as a night out at the cinema complete with public service announcements stating the rules of the theater (and the severe consequences of breaking them). Also included is a preview for "Not Farewell Sweet Flesh," the only full-color piece to be seen on Märchenfilme. The look of the piece is reminiscent of Italian horror films, complete with over-dubbing that sounds as if it's come from some third-party preview. The rest of the films can best be described as beautifully rendered, nightmarish fables.
The real stand-out of the collection is "(The Elaborate) Empire of Ache" which has less Maya Deren and more Robert Weine. The outlandish costumes, askew sets, chiaroscuro lighting and multi-layered music cohere to create an unsettling fantasy world.
Back to Issue 11