Director: Elke Groen
Year: 2007
Time: 9 mins
Music: Dietmar Schipek
Eye of Sound: Groen spent two winters in the Dachstein mountain range in Austria, collecting footage of the unfathomable succession of nights, fogs and shades and the impalpable flow of the freezing Alpian winds. Built like an impressionistic poetic documentary, Nighstill explores the frailty and isolation of these apparently quiet snowscapes, elegantly using time-lapse to capture the invisible movements that imperceptibly sweep the mountain ranges every day: the moon rushing through the sky in an arch; winds oozing like fumes from the rocks; bright stars rapidly sinking into the ground; or the bulky cliffs being traversed by the thinest clouds. Against this seemingly unchanging cycle, a few scattered remains of human existence emerge: the ever-shining winter hotels, abandoned huts, cable cars and a human figure that manages to retain an illusion of permanence in the midst of the constantly shifting landscape. Subtly built into the screen, Schipek's soundtrack is a serene but dynamic montage of fragile organic drones, grainy but hi-fi crackles and processed field recordings that mute the violent wind blows into condensed sonic shivers that create the illusion of replicating the filmic action. Nightstill may perhaps be a misleading title for this hypnotic work: for, in all its beauty and serenity, it emanates an overwhelming sense of untamed motion and violence that stillness can't encompass.
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