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HOMEMOVIES - Editor‘s Pick (excerpt)
by Gavin Smith in filmcomment vol.41 , jan/feb. 2005
 
New DVD Releases
Editor’s Pick: Avant-garde roundup

The Vienna-based INDEX has issued 15 all-region collections by some of Austria’s foremost experimental filmmakers, all for sale on-line, for 30 euros. Highlights include two compilations of films by the legendary Kurt Kren. "Action Films" contains 10 of his remarkable documentations of performances by the influential Actionists (whose anarchic spectacles of sexual regression and body transgression, have to be seen to be believed – try the 1964 'Mama und' Papa). "Structural Films", featuring 16 groundbreaking silent films from 1957-95, presents Kren’s restless explorations of cinematic perception, via ingenious cutting strategies and uncanny visual conceits, from the illusion of motion archieved through the alternation of positive and negative frames and focal shifts in 'Walls pos.-neg and path', to the painstaking use of improvised lens mattes and multiple exposure in 'Asylum'. Then there’s a collection of three shorts by VALIE EXPORT, a feminist pioneer whose uncompromising work is theoretically based but provocative and playfull. 'Man & Woman & Animal' and '...Remote...Remote...' share a stark, confrontational focus on the female body, employing auto-eroticism and self-mutilation for their respective conceits, while 'Syntagma' is a dazzlingly prescient take on the fragmentation and dissolution of physical and psychic identity in the computer age. Also not to be missed is "Films from a Dark Room", a collection of seven films by Peter Tscherkassky , one of the leading lights in the current generation of Austrian experimentalists. Here in all their glory are 'Outer Space' and 'Dream Work', his two mind-blowing found-footage explorations of catastrophic visual rupture and the appropriation of the female body derived from the troubling 1982 Barbara Hershey horror film 'The Entity'.
Gavin Smith
 
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