GEORGES SCHWIZGEBEL
THE RAPTURE OF FRANK N STEIN (1982)

Director: Georges Schwizgebel
Year: 1982
Time: 9 mins
Music: Michael Horowitz & Rainer Boesch
Eye of Sound: Schwizgebel once commented that Le Ravissement of Frank N. Stein was born of the desire to work intimately with a composer. By teaming up with Michael Horowitz and Rainer Boesch, two electroacoustic and electronic composers that create music by forging unity out of fragmentary sources, Schwizgebel was perhaps offering one of the keys to this immensely rich Frank N Stein edifice - especially if we notice that the soundtrack is built on cycles of crescendos rather than contrasting disparate sound objects. External references abound, Marguerite Duras' Le Ravissement de Vol N. Stein and James Whale's 1935 The Bride of Frankenstein being the most obvious. Duras' novel is acted out, after a brief insight into the monster's inform interiority and laboratorial gestation, in the apparently motionless traversing of endless rooms that are progressively filled out with objects and persons. But this is not an external museum, and we are soon lead to believe that we are crossing the internal landscape of a fragmented being who bears the marks of discontinuity both on his body and in his name. The filling out of such halls is equated with the construction of his selfhood: from the repetition of nothingness, through spaces of complete darkness, to a stage of apparent excess, an illusory surplus of inhabitants blooms out of the original void that predicated the creature's mind - illusory because we are shown that the multiplicity of figures is a guise for the repetition of a mind-cell, one in which only the monster and his fearful bride exist. By the time we reach the final chamber, that of his unified selfhood, we are thrown into The Bride referential territory. And, paradoxically or not, it is, as Amy Lawrence pointed out, when seeing his bride that the monster acquires a self - a self, we may assume, that is immediately shattered by her hysterical rejection of her own male-counterpart. It is also at this moment that we are detached from the monster's vision, but the supplementary distance created by the final scene, in which all is shown to be film and fiction, only temporarily reassures us of our status as spectators: for by allowing us to read the monster as fiction for a few seconds but then placing our theatre seats as part of the film, Schwizgebel immediately relocates us in the fabric of fiction from which our selves had just been rescued from. 

2 comments:

  1. crazy. haven't seen anything animated quite like this, it's refreshing.

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  2. One of the best animated shorts I've ever seen. I enjoy every minute of it every time I watch it. The music and the animation are both electrifying. One of my absolute favorites

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