Invisible Adversaries - VALIE EXPORT
AUT 1976, 16mm, col & bw, 104 Min.
Director: VALIE EXPORT, Peter Weibel (cooperation); Script: Peter Weibel, VALIE EXPORT (cooperation), based on an idea of VALIE EXPORT; Cinematography: Wolfgang Simon; Assistant: Rudi Palla; Editing: Herbert Baumgartner, VALIE EXPORT , Juno Sylva Englander; Photography: Helga Borsodi, Hermann Hendrich, Monika Hubmann, Wilhelm Krejci, Wolfgang Soos, Karl Heinz Koller, Eric Timmermann, VALIE EXPORT; Production: VALIE EXPORT; Cast: Susanne Widl, Peter Weibel, Josef Plavec, Monika Helfer-Friedrich, Helke Sander, Dominik Dusek, Herbert Schmid, Eduard Neversal.
Anna, an artist, is obsessed with the invasion of alien doubles bent on total destruction. Her schizophrenia is reflected in the juxtapositions of long movie camera takes with violently edited montages: private with public spaces; black & white with colour, still photographs with video, earsplitting sounds with disruptive camera angles. Anna uses her body like a map; after a devastating quarrel with her lover, she paints red stitches on herself. Watching their scenes together, we realize how seldom, if ever before, the details of sexual intimacy have been shown in film from the point of view from a woman. Export privileges rupture over unity and never settles for one-dimensional solutions
(Artforum, Nov. 1980)
One of the most original films in this year´s Exposition, Invisible Adversaries is a tour de force of cinematic invention. It should bring international recognition to Valie Export, an Austrian experimental filmmaker known heretofore in America mostly by reputation. This is her first attempt at a feature-length narrative, and it reveals a prodigious talent at work. The title refers to extraterrestrial aliens called ´Hyksos´, malevolent forces that enter human bodies like incubi and initiate the decline of civilization. Not to be taken literally, the Hyksos are a poetic metaphor for the modern Zeitgeist, the apocalyptic mood of the times. Ms. Export uses this theme as a framework for some of the most audacious and amazing experiments since Cocteau. The comparison is appropriate, for on one level Invisible Adversaries is about art and the artist, a modern Blood of the Poet. To this, Export brings a fresh and intelligent sensibility, characteristically self-referential. Her visual resources include mirrors, still photography, video, dance, and films within the film, all employed with a bold and surprising inventiveness.
(Excerpt from the catalog notes of the 1978 Los Angeles International Film Exposition - Gene Youngblood).
Invisible Adversaries 1976, 104 min