minute 01

Spinning around and around - the whirling dancer is in a total state of trance. With his body he draws circle after circle. Why is he doing this? Does this have any kind of spiritual background? I wonder what the music sounds like, that he is dancing to, if there is even any. The wind chimes behind him must produce the loveliest sounds. But there are also drummers providing a rhythm. The rhythm of life it must be.

The rhythm of life in this seemingly faraway place. Not only in space, but also from a far away time. So distant, the film material already began to rot. Black and white dots and lines in random places.

In what country is this happening? And what is the occasion for this hypnotic dance? It appears to be in a desert, with a small oriental village in the background. What was life like in this place, for these people? The music becomes continuously more pressing.

It becomes even more pushing, when the spinning film reels appear, adding some kind of urgency. What kind of place is this? There are reels and reels of film being spun. They, too, spin around with no end in sight.

Is this some kind of factory? Or simply a place where films are wound and rewound? Does something like this even still exist today? It looks like a method that has been long discontinued – made redundant by today’s digitalization. There is no need for any more rewinding.

I wonder what kind of films those are. Are they newscasts that captured a piece of history? A history that was believed to be immortalized in film, but now is rotting or even bursting into flames – dying of old age.

Or are these films telling fictional stories that have long been forgotten? Stories that need to be saved and remembered, because they are also part of our history. Tales from times I find so intriguing. A time I want to travel to, because it seems to be so romantic. A time I only know from photographs and moving pictures.

Now I’m left to wonder: what does all of this mean? The whirling dancer and the spinning reels of film. They spin around and never stop.

Are they a symbol for life itself? Life is also a constant circle that never ends. People are born and people die. In between of that there are all these different lives that can be lived. One grows up and travels through multiple stages of life. So many lives can be lived, all depending on where one is born and when one is born. There are infinite possibilities of things to do and to experience. So many possibilities that they do not fit in only one lifetime.
Some people can fit more in a lifetime than others, some simply can’t or don’t want to. It is one’s own responsibility. But some are not granted enough time in their lives to live it to its fullest.

Every life has to end, sometimes earlier and sometimes later. But this does not break the circle of life, it does just the opposite. The dead become food for plants and small animals and those in turn become food for bigger animals and so on. They provide nutrition, allowing the next link in the food chain to live and reproduce. This circle spins continuously: from birth and growing up, to decaying and death.

Just like the reels of films shown and the old nitrate films used in this movie. They were born/filmed, a long time ago. Many films have since died through decay or spontaneous combustion. These films have also long started to decay and are on their way to death. But before they could completely die, they were saved.

Saved from their graves that are the archives they were stored in.  They were revived and new life was breathed into them, allowing them to live on for some more time. The signs of age were so severe that not all of them could be removed. This changes the film, sometimes making it even more beautiful than it was in its youth.

All those old films were used to create something new – a new film was born, closing the circle of life.

Franziska Paul