Watching John Ford with Jean Epstein.
Approaching the materiality of film via the faces of its stars.

Jerry Lewis‘ philosophy of video: Lewis‘ comedy of playback is also a meditation on the technology he relied on in the production of his films. Looping a scene from Lewis‘ film „The Patsy“ (1966) shows how the loops of the electronic video signal are included in the very illusion they helped to fabricate. The mise-en-abyme of his film is short circuiting the funny with the claustrophobic.

A man is getting cornered. The past is closing in, thightening its grip…
A detail in Jacques Tourneur’s „Out of the Past“ (USA 1947) becomes visible as metaphor.
For the film’s story.
And it’s mise-en-scène.

The object of sound – elusive and not translatable into musical notation – is conserved in records and tapes and filmstrips, which allow to dissect and isolate what before was „fleeting and tied to the passage of an irreversible and irrecoverable period of time.“

Picking up on Pierre Schaeffer’s musical theory, this video essay looks at the final scene from Robert Aldrich’s KISS ME DEADLY as an event of concrete sound. What comes out of Pandora’s box is nothing but radioactive sound, traversing all boundaries including the one between diegesis and extradiagesis, leaving its mark even on the surface of the film material and on the character’s hands.

Their gestures mirror my own videographic practice: with my fingers on the keyboard, clicking from sound bite to sound bite I am feeling my way through the film, hoping to touch upon these moments, which otherwise would go unnoticed. My video essay is handiwork in the literal sense: the jerking movements of the image and the irregular stutter of the soundtrack is a result of my hands intervening in the course of the film, getting my fingers burnt.

[No additional sounds have been used in the making of this video. The stroboscopic audio is nothing but the original soundtrack, dissected and interrupted by clicking manually from frame to frame.]