Classical Period, 2018, Ted Fendt © Viennale

Classical Period (2018)

Regie: Ted Fendt. 62 min
Im Mittelpunkt dieses auf körnigem 16mm-Material gefilmten, in Philadelphia angesiedelten Konversationsstücks steht der intellektuelle Austausch: Cal und seine Freunde sprechen über Literatur, Poesie, Musik, Architektur und Geschichte; vor allem aber diskutieren sie Henry Longfellows aus dem Jahr 1864 stammende Übersetzung von Dante Alighieris "Die Göttliche Komödie". Dem Sprechen, dem Zuhören, dem Entwickeln von Gedanken und dem Austausch von Argumenten kommt hier größte Bedeutung zu; anstelle einer Handlung entfalten sich Charakterporträts. Fendt bricht mit filmdramaturgischen Konventionen und zelebriert analoge Kulturtechniken. Anrührend altmodisch, geradezu klassisch. (A.S.)

Cal, Evelyn and their friends listen to lectures, observe buildings, recite poems, transcribe quotations; although it is present-day Philadelphia there are no computers in sight. A discussion group on Dante provides this disparate bunch with their sole communal point; otherwise, they each drift about, attending plays or music rehearsals. "So what else have you been up to, Cal?", an older mentor asks, and Cal's response is typical: "Just the usual, reading, writing." The characters' quiet, "classical" passion for poetry, architecture and the history of religions is mirrored in the asceticism of their daily lives. They walk and talk, exchange literary references, summarize intriguing anecdotes. The monologue form comes easily, especially to Cal in a marathon seven-and-a-half minute take. There is seemingly no intellectual rivalry or sexual tension to cloud these cerebral interactions. Only a single, upsetting question at a social event causes Evelyn to accuse Cal of smugness … Shot in austere 16mm, Classical Period is a hypnotic mix of the lean irony of Éric Rohmer, the rigorous minimalism of Straub & Huillet, and the everyday miniatures of Australian filmmaker Bill Mousoulis. (Adrian Martin)