What forms can documentary film take? Really extraordinary ones, as far as films by internationally renowned Swiss director Peter Liechti are concerned. To Liechti, the film medium is an open field entered by other art elements such as music and literary text. Under his directing guidance, plastic documentary images emerge, dominated by a common trait; that of a stream of imagination.
The online selection of Liechti’s works represents a summary of his films made in more than 20 years. During this time, Peter Liechti, who had originally studied visual arts, has created a specific film language with an emphasis on the powerful combination of long takes, macroscopic details and literary means of expression. In case of Liechti’s films, the label “documentary essay“ is more than fitting. The unique compilation, with its accord of narrative and visually powerful images, is perhaps best represented by the highly suggestive documentary The Sound of Insects: Report of a Mummy, which has received the Prix Arte of the European Film Academy in 2009. The voluntary death of the protagonist, accompanied by a philosophical reflection on the birth and death of life, is captured by means of the miniature movement of individual natural elements.
However, the rest of Liechti’s works deserve attention as well. A specific combination of electronic music and film characterizes Liechti’s debut Kick That Habit. Music has also been the main theme of the appreciated film Namibia Crossings capturing an ethnically diverse group of musicians on tour in the South African state. Whereas music is a strong linking element between the individual protagonists, their cultural differences and bias lead to many a misunderstanding. The director’s personal testimony about the search for his own roots, integrated in the story of his attempt to get rid of his nicotine addiction, is given during the contemplative journey to the director’s native city in Lucky Jack. The selection of 11 Liechti’s films is supplemented by a topical interview with the director made by the prestigious documentary DOX magazine.
Learn more about the power of Liechti’s visual language in a unique online retrospective from February 10 to 16 at DAFilms.com for free! Enter Peter Liechti’s world of endless imagination!
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