Friday, February 13, 2015

Notes On Viaggio nella dopo-storia (Journey Into Post History) by Vincent Dieutre, France: 2015-Berlinale2015-VIII.-Forum

The film is a try of a remake of Rossellini´s masterpiece Viaggio In Italia, it is a homage to this film, a personal interpretation or how Dieutre calls it in his over voice commentary, an exercise of appreciation.
The couple Ingrid Bergman and George Sanders are here replaced by the homosexual couple Tom and Alex.
The film is always interwoven with personal reflections and thoughts by the filmmaker. Often we see him talking with a lawyer specialized in copyrights and all the legal affairs related to make a remake.
Rossellini´s masterpiece is always present, obviously in excerpts and often projected on huge screens as the background. In these moments it does not look anymore like a projected film, but like a memory of a film or even like a memory of an event which had a big impact on one´s life. The film is present in the dialogue of this gay couple which is only slightly modified. Even in the images of the Naples in the 21.century, you still feel the shadow of Rossellini´s film.

Between all the options how to define this film, I would choose rather the term “audiovisual essay” In one scene the lawyer explains to the filmmaker that adapting, remaking or even quoting an existing work becomes a problem “if you discourage the people to watch the original work”. As a matter of fact Viaggio nelle dopo-storia makes one watching the Rossellini film again and it does not matter if one already knows this film or not.

The film is a sounding of this huge resonance space between a film we love and admire, its impact on our subjective experience and our view to the world.
The actual “remake” does not really take place, it remains fragmented if caused by legal copyright-issue, technical or financial problems or finally caused by the filmmaker´ hesitation.
What makes this film to such an inspiring experience is the dynamic relationship between the film by Rossellini (and Dieutre´ for it) and the echo it leaves in the contemporary Naples and literally in the whole film by Dieutre.
After all Viaggio nella dopo-storia is probably an appreciation of a famous film, an appreciation of cinema, only a French cinephile can approach.
It is a film with many layers each of them are corresponding with each other and these layers are in the images and in the soundtrack.
Adapted and modified dialogues between Alex and Tom have sometimes a character of an evocation of the time, space and also the concrete part of history connected with Viaggio In Italia. And again the projected excerpts on a huge screen. Sometimes Tom and Alex are acting in front of it. The screen is indefinable big. We see only fragments from Rossellini´s images. In its many layers Dieutre´s film reminds me sometimes in Stanley Kwan´s masterpiece Ruan Ling Yu on the Chinese actress Ruan Ling yu and sometimes in Anup Singh´s mesmerizing cinematic dance through the world of Bengali master Ritwik Ghatak, The Name Of A River. If Anup Singh´s appreciation (which is not fixed on a certain film by Ghatak) is closer to Terrence Malick and Stanley Kwan´s bio pic closer to Orson Welles, they have nevertheless something in common with Viaggio nella dopo-jistoria. These films are more like a homage, these are films by people who really lived in and with their admired subjects. These films are great inspirations for all those who love films, who write about films - but also for those who make films.

I always loved Viaggio in Italia. Vincent Dieutre make me love it now even more. And after all, this film is a wonderful example how to talk, think, feel and how to express our love for cinema.
If film criticism and film making ever comes together, than Viaggio nella dopo-storia is a kind of la ove match between both of them.

Rüdiger Tomczak


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