Deutsch uses only existing film footage to illustrate his points. He mined the archives of several film institutes and came up with footage that has largely been neglected the last 100 years. In his first six chapters, Deutsch almost exclusively uses scientific and pedagogic films. These films are never looked upon a artistic cinema, because of their often sterile and boring content, but Deutsch demonstrates that there is a lot of beauty to be found in these films. Chapters 7-12 focus on fiction films from the silent era.
Film ist. is a collage work in the truest sense of the word. Deutsch combines tons of archaic film material and the result is exhilarating, interesting, funny and often extremely beautiful. Deutsch never set out to make a theoretical film and he succeeded admirably. Such a project could have easily ended in a boring and humorless film, but Film ist. is the exact opposite. People with no interest in experimental cinema should approach this film with caution of course, but everyone with even the slightest interest in avant-garde film should have seen this film at least once in their lives.