Fragments of Kubelka

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A Documentary about Peter Kubelka's work by Martina Kudlacek.

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This epic documentary subtly introduces the complex world view of iconic filmmaker and theoretician Peter Kubelka (born 1934, Vienna). While Kubelka's radical and pioneering body of films is a highly condensed work of about an hour focussing on the essence of cinema, his legendary lectures often unfold over many hours. These lectures on "what is cinema" and "cooking as an art form" are frequently illuminated by the presentation of archaeological objects from Kubelka's eclectic collection. He considers his ongoing collecting to be an expanded film practice which explores the evolution of humanity. Martina Kudláček has carefully woven an open-ended portrait which goes beyond the biographical to reveal fresh insights into the phenomenon of film.

Kubelka's films play and work with the flow of time, compressing the continuous now and presence. His films digest the manifold things of the universe: the elemental energies of light and dark; movement and stillness; the life of animals and patterns of landscape; gesture and dance. With another mode of time Kudláček shared with us Kubelka's patient pace of conversation and listening, exploring things that mean so much to the artist: memories, souvenirs, his past and childhood, his home. All these things entered into Kubelka's films, but here they are brought to light and made part of his legacy as teacher and as artist. In perhaps the most sensual sequence, Kudláček shows Kubelka as he prepares, cooks and then eats Wiener Schnitzel. Following rather than compressing the flow of time, we watch as ingredients embrace each other: egg, flour, meat and butter. We see the browning and transformation of these things exposed to fire, listen to their ecstatic metamorphosis. As Kubelka says, food is a metaphor that can be eaten, a meal is a work of art that can be consumed and digested. To digest, Kubelka tells us, is to embrace the universe. Fragments of Kubelka allows us to savor, swallow and digest these lessons.

Tom Gunning

Fragments of Kubelka - Austria 2012, language : english, 232' - Directed by: Martina Kudláček

Author(s) Martina Kudlacek, Peter Kubelka, Tom Gunning, Christian Höller, Nicole Brenez
Artist(s) Martina Kudlacek, Peter Kubelka
Format DVD PAL, Region 0, 4:3
Original format Video 1,33:1
Year 2012
Language(s) English
Runtime 232 min
Publisher Film Museum

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