If you agree with Foucault’s notion that history is circular rather than linear, then the second-last installment of the Moving_Image cycle’s Contemporary ABC at Gaîté Lyrique, H comme Histoire (‘H as in History) should appeal. The films presented link historical events in a postmodern mash-up of content, as well as form, beginning with the master himself, Jean Luc Godard, and his video art documentary collage. A futile attempt to describe his work and make it match its content De l’origine du XXIe siècle (Origins of the XXI Century) is an edited collection of real footage as film excerpts of a 20th century narrative in reverse order gives you an insight into our recent history, as told by the ‘losers’ and not the customary winners. The horrors brought on the world by endless war and conflict are shown through the faces of children and not the heroic returns of soldiers; seen through the tears and laughter of women and not the declarations of politicians. The people and the images that we sometimes try to hide are brought to the foreground and in the hands of a most experienced storyteller, such as Godard, becomes a masterpiece that captures our tortured past, while providing a cautionary tale for an unsettling future.
Continuing with the documentary format, Croation experimental film maker Ivan Faktor manages to pay homage to his favorite director Fritz Lang and while simultaneously conveying the absurdity and the chaos of a city devastated by war in Das Lied ist Aus (Don’t Ask Me Why). Using the dialogue and the music of Lang’s M for his own soundtrack, Faktor constructs a portrait of the city of Osijek, practically destroyed by the War of Independence in 1992. The scenes transport the audience into the chaos, as sentimental close ups and lingering shots of destruction are as jarring as they are representative of the realities of war.
From the conflict in the Balkan Peninsula to the unrealized, however real, war between two super powers, Anna Adahl’s To New Horizons sees the US and former Soviet Union battle it out with film images of the 30s; propaganda used on both sides of the Atlantic. Here it becomes clear that everything, including politics, is two-sided as superbly filmed images appear on screen side-by-side, leaving its audience wondering who is really behind this master class in communication. **