Accompanied by fragile sounds a few flocks of clouds hurry over the peaks of the Dachstein mountain range. Behind windows at solitary mountain stations, lights blink like Morse code. Gondolas flit past as if in flight. Thick blankets of fog envelop cliffs. A windmill spins. Here and there human figures appear, resembling phantoms in the snowy white. The moon climbs in the sky, glows, falls, disappears, then rises again.
Elke Groen´s NightStill, just under nine minutes long, is a filmic survey of the Dachstein region in Austria´s Alps. However it has nothing in common with a documentary record, serving as a confrontation between the givens (a landscape, artifacts and living beings; the sky, weather and the light) and a film technique which has always possessed the ability to alienate.
With the exception of a Webcam sequence, the special effects were created with the camera, an "old spring-wound Bolex". Over two winters, always at night and before, during and after a full moon, the filmmaker roamed the Dachstein region with it. Each frame was exposed for 30 seconds, resulting in 12 minutes per second of film and 12 hours of real time for every minute of film in this work.
In this careful condensation the rock massif seems doubly static, movements and the play of light take on even more dynamism and fleetingness. Night turns into day, and the moon resembles the winter sun as it hangs over slopes deeply buried in snow. Delicate showers of stars fall from the azure heavens. Man stands surrounded by it all, shaking his head in delighted awe.
Translation: Steve Wilder
After making films about Ex-Yugoslavia, Romania and China I wanted to shoot a film at home.
Nightstill is an ode to my homeland.
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