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Happy-End

DIR: Peter Tscherkassky
1996 / Austria / 11 min

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Recommend this film

Happy-End is a found footage film: the re-working of someone else'’s home movies from the 60s and 70s. The sequences selected are taken from many hours of the staged private life of “Rudolf”and “Elfriede”, pivoting on demonstrative celebrations, alcohol and cake consumption together.

Who watched these two before Peter Tscherkassky’s (and then our) gaze fell on their gaiety? Who stood behind the camera? I think that the theory that they themselves are responsible (in expectancy of their own spectatorship – look, it was so wonderful there) misses the mark. Neither is it a hidden camera, since Rudolf and Elfriede turn to it laughing, gesticulating and with glass in hand. It must be their child, a child who never enters the picture himself, except in the form of a symbolic doll and recurring mirrors wich evidence his doings.

I think that Rudolf and Elfriede fell in love in the summer of 1952 as Annie Cordy’s hit could be heard from every speaker – “Bonbons, Caramels, Esquimaux, Chocolats”. In 1958 their son was born, shortly after a first movie camera was bought. At the beginning of the 70s the son took over the direction of the annual celebration films. He also captured on film the sexual joy which hovers lightly between the sparkling wine and the Sachertorte.

Twenty years later the child, by now a grown man, sees these rediscovered films again.

To his surprise they don’t embarrass him in the least. He understands how the home movies of that time led him to avant-garde film: the single frame tricks, and the many technically determined jumps, flashes and wipes puncture not only the cinematographic illusion but also the function of these films – the maintenance of the privacy of passing lives – Paradise Not Yet Lost. He digs deeper into the personal effects of his parents and pulls out older pictures shot from a hand-held camera, with its characteristic movement, that must stem from “before his time”. He veils his “own” pictures with them and re-writes the story of Rudolf and Elfriede in reverse time, back into a pre-linguistic world of secrets. The burden of hard-won film and family theory drops from him, the vortex of picture and feelings becomes an “eternal requiem” for his parents and a homage to his mother, as she spins round, slower and slower, laughing like an old jazz-singer. And so he is working against the pain of the knowledge that he could not express this closeness during the lifetime of Rudolf and Elfriede. What a sad, happy end!

About

Director Peter Tscherkassky
Screenplay Peter Tscherkassky
Dir. of Photography Anonymous
Editing Peter Tscherkassky
Music
Sound
Duration 11 min
Year 1996
Country Austria
Colour
Tags experimental, family, family archives
Production SIXPACKFILM
SIXPACKFILM
Address:  Neubaugasse 45/13
City:  1071 Vídeň
Country:  Austria
Web:  www.sixpackfilm.com
E-mail:  
Phone:  00 43 1 526 09 90
Cell phone:  ---
Fax:  0043 1 526 09 92

Distribution SIXPACKFILM
SIXPACKFILM
Address:  Neubaugasse 45/13
City:  1071 Vídeň
Country:  Austria
Web:  www.sixpackfilm.com
E-mail:  
Phone:  00 43 1 526 09 90
Cell phone:  ---
Fax:  0043 1 526 09 92

Festivals

Aix-en-Provence - Festival Tous Courts ...

Aix-en-Provence - Festival Tous Courts 1997


Amascultura - Encontros Internacionais de Cinema Documental 1997


Austin - Cinetexas - Int. short film&video&new media festival 1997


Denver - Int. Film Festival 1997


Huesca - Festival de Cine 1997


Locarno - Festival Int. De la Video et Arts Electroniques 1997


Milano - DOC 1997


New Orleans - Film & Video Festival 1997


New York - Film Festival 1997


Osnabrück - European Media Art Festival 1997


Pesaro - Film Festival 1997


Rotterdam - Int. Filmfestival 1997


Split - Festival of New Film and Video 1997


Trencianske Teplice - Int. Art Film Festival 1997


Utrecht - Impakt Festival 1997


Winterthur - Kurzfilmtage 1997


Aix-en-Provence - Festival Tous Courts 1998


Ann Arbor - Film Festival 1998


Helsinki - MUU Media Festival 1998


Humboldt - Int. Film Festival 1998


Leeuwarden/NL - Noordelijk Film Festival 1998


Luzern - VIPER - Int. Film-,Video-& Multimedia-Festival 1998


Olympia - Film Festival 1998


Stuttgart - Filmwinter, Expanded Media Festival 1998


Stuttgart - Filmwinter, Expanded Media Festival 1998


Toronto - IMAGES - Independent Film & Video Festival 1998


Uppsala - Int. Short Film Festival 1998


Vic / E - Mostra de Film Documental 1998


Regensburg - Kurzfilmwoche 1999


Teplice - Int. Art Film Festival Trencianske 1999


Split - Festival of New Film and Video 2000


Wunsiedel - Grenzland Filmtage 2000


Aix-en-Provence - Festival Tous Courts 2001


Austin - Cinetexas - Int. short film&video&new media festival 2001


Brest - Festival du Film Court 2001


Cork - Int. Film Festival 2002


Helsinki - Avanto Media Art Festival 2002


Luzern - VIPER - Int. Film und Video Festival 2002


Winterthur - Kurzfilmtage 2002


Ankara - Festival on Wheels 2004


Buenos Aires Festival Int. de Cine Independiente BAFICI 2004


Pesaro - Film Festival 2004

Awards


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