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Titel:     Hen Night
Director     Friedl vom Gröller
  original titel:
Year: 2009
Country: Austria
Length: 03:00 min
Premiere: 2009 /
Medium: Film
Category: Avantgarde/Arts
Orig lang.: no dialogue
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Hen Night
Five older women, loosely grouped in two rows, gaze into the camera. At times only details of their faces can be seen, a sixth woman walks through the picture, joins the others. The image flickers briefly, disappears, and the scene begins again from the start, this time with a slightly displaced camera perspective.
Friedl vom Gröller´s (Friedl Kubelka´s pseudonym) short, silent black-and-white film Hen Night, created on the occasion of the artist´s upcoming wedding, portrays the six women in the state of least possible movement - the reverse, so to speak, of Kubelka´s photographic process in which she fabricates individual photographic portraits over the course of days, weeks, months, and years, capturing the process of time in the changes in the portrayed person.

In Hen Night, the camera initially remains with the group and subsequently takes each individual into focus: a cinematic snapshot, in which the moment of time is nonetheless inscribed in the women´s faces. Hen Night refrains from an external plot, which is precisely what turns it into the stage for a staged event, which is characterized more by the interaction between the portrayed persons and the camera, which at times resembles a subtle battle, than through the relationship of the women to each other. Captured head-on by the camera, the women reciprocate its "gaze," some self-confidently, some skeptically, and not all of them can hold out; yielding for a brief moment in little side plots, for example, when one of the women sniffs at a little bottle.

Kubelka captures the women´s ambivalent emotions on camera. And the presence of the camera, which technical "errors," such as the repetition of the opening shot or the camera´s shaking make us particularly aware, makes it impossible to forget that inherent to the relationship camera-portrait subject is always an inauthentic, constructed moment; that the borders between identity, pose, and staging are permeable.

(Astrid Wege)

Translation: Lisa Rosenblatt

The setting is simple: a group picture with six elderly women arranged in two rows, everyone looks into the camera. One of them sniffs at a vial. The occasion for the film’s production was Kubelka’s upcoming wedding. Hen Night shows friends’ reactions, which are expressed pointedly in their faces. Faces, as is well known, are able to tell stories.

(Dietmar Schwärzler)

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english print version
  filmvideo.at // Polterabend applied on 2009-02-02 last update on 2016-09-13