A film review by Theresa Parstorfer
Flickering black and white images, shadows running super-imposed. A tall young woman on a toilet seat is writing on toilet tissue. Perhaps, the poem, that is read by a soft voice in the background. Again and again one glimpses her in time-lapse: in the bathroom, in underpants, with a blonde wig, in a long white robe. The camera shakes, after the second take the first scene is over.
The short film “Where Pain Thrives” is to be understood as an adaption of poems of the Danish artist Mie Hansson and resembles a mixture of poetry reading, art film and “making-of” when the voice of the poetess herself who is also the woman on the toilet announces the poems. Which is also the intention of film director Tobias M Kraft: the bringing together of different art forms in order to create a new resulting confluent work of art (Endkunstwerk) which in turn reflects back on the original works of art, leaving them in a new light. In this case, the poems and the film material, which consists of nine longer sequences filmed in London and Paris, is synthesized into the short film “Where Pain Thrives – The Visual Edition”.
Mie Hansson’s voice stands in stark contrast to the content of her texts. It is obvious that they deal with pain. With pain of abandonment, of solitude, of not-wanting-to-be-oneself. But the young woman seems to be hardly touched by it. Twice, the picture changes into worn-out, flickering bonbon colors. Hansson dances below a bridge, rests on a graveyard wall and stands in an atelier. In those moments her voice becomes a hint more playful and the texts more vulgar at the same time.
But something is missing in this short film. Missing is an explanation, a story. But the aesthetics of the film, the flickering, the blurry sounds almost demand that void. The at first sight incoherent impressions act like the realization that life often is too complicated, to convoluted and also too painful to always have to, or be able to search for a meaning of life. When the young woman gazes with scrutiny into the camera, the blonde hair beneath a black lace-made scarf, all of a sudden the eternal quest for meaning itself seems meaningful and the patchwork pretty.
There are times in life, where the only remains are: getting up every day, going to the bathroom every day, writing on toilet tissue that mothers breed dead children, and that the ex fiancé ought to wipe his excrements in the love letters received. For that is the only expression which nearly describes how painful life can be.
On the street, every day, there are new faces, new human beings, new stories, which nobody tells, but somehow the same happens every day. The look of the film which was made with a super-8 camera like a negative which misses a piece on top and on the bottom, reminds of the fact that every frame hinges merely on the next and that the big picture perhaps will remain shrouded forever. One has to live life though, anyway. Eventually, there are fun fairs, roofs onto which to climb, from which to cry, and pretty moments, like those back in the days, below the bridge.
“For the man who has lived death is the answer”, is the final phrase of the film and in that final poem the voice-over has almost flipped over and was all of a sudden full of life, and that might be, when “Where Pain Thrives” reveals its explanation in search for meaning. The audience may not be left with explicit answers, but nonetheless with impressions and the reminiscence of painfully pretty images and words in which somehow one recognizes oneself.
A collaboration of Émigré Publishing and Return of the Muses Limited
All poems read by: Mie Hansson
Director, Producer and Director of Photography: Tobias M Kraft
Art Director: Mie Hansson
Editor and Compositor: Maria Pia Fanigliulo
All rights reserved Émigré Publishing 2015 and Return of the Muses Limited, 2015