Aus einem nahen Land, 2015, Manfred Neuwirth


"From a Nearby Land" (2015) by Manfred Neuwirth

March 5, 2015

Manfred Neuwirth is one of the most versatile of Austria’s independent filmmakers. For nearly 40 years, he has alternated between all styles, genres and formats: classical documentaries, elaborate installations, experimental videos and reworkings of found footage. He is an archivist, photographer and sound collector, as well as a sought-after cinematographer, editor and producer. Internationally, he became known with his [ma]-Trilogy (1988-1999), which combined avant-garde with documentary influences.
Neuwirth's latest work, now being world-premiered at the Film Museum, continues this series of "structural documentaries." Kritzendorf, a small community on the Danube northwest of Vienna, is the location of this film, which consists of 24 slightly slowed-down segments of 3 minutes each (further enriched by the sounds of Austria’s electronic music wizard Christian Fennesz). The Vitovec family, neighbors of the filmmaker, live off a vineyard. From a Nearby Land shows their daily lives, the men in the vineyard, the women weaving symbols of the harvest, and in-between are unreal-looking images that seem to derive from a science-fiction film: a tractor emerges out of nowhere in a field between giant bales of hay, elsewhere a ship seems to cut through the landscape. From a Nearby Land is an invitation to newly examine this microcosm called "home" – a joyful exercise in seeing, hearing, and concentration.
A joint event with SYNEMA. Kicking off the screening, there will be a discussion between the filmmaker and Brigitte Mayr and Michael Omasta, who recently published the book, "Manfred Neuwirth: Bilder der flüchtigen Welt“ (SYNEMA, Vienna 2014). The conversation will be accompanied by three further short films and rarely-seen photographs by the artist.

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