Invest in Failure (Notes on Film 06-C, Monologue 03)

Norbert Pfaffenbichler returns to his series “Notes on Film”, centered around famous Hollywood actors. “Invest in Failure” proposes an original approach to James Mason’s cinematic persona with excerpts from the actor’s approximately 160 film titles.

Mosaik Mécanique

All shots of the slapstick comedy A Film Johnnie (USA, 1914) are shown simultaneously in a symmetrical grid, one after the other. Each scene, from one cut to the next, from the first to the last frame, is looped. A pulsing visual poly-rhythm is produced as a result, because of the shots’ varying lengths. The total length of the mosaic film corresponds precisely to that of the original.

A Messenger From The Shadows (Notes on Film 06 A/Monologue 01)

The actor Lon Chaney (1893-1930) – son of deaf-mute and handicapped parents – was called The Man of a Thousand Faces because of his extraordinary mutability. He worked not only as an actor, but also wrote scripts, occasionally directed and created all his famous make ups himself. He appeared in 161 movies, all but one of them silent. Most of those films are lost. A Messenger from the Shadows is a surreal re-montage of shots from 46 films that have survived.

A Masque of Madness (Notes on Film 06-B, Monologue 02)

In A Masque of Madness (Notes on Film 06-B. Monologue 02), a feature length experimental film, the British actor Boris Karloff (1887-1969) embodies approximately 170 different characters. An acting career spanning 50 years (1919-1969) is compressed into one twisted movie. The protagonist experiences a schizophrenic horror trip in which he faces only versions of himself in different masks, at different ages, of different genders and races. This nightmarish concept film is both a tribute to a great actor and a crazy film history lesson.

CONFERENCE notes on film 05

Sixty-five actors portraying Hitler make an appearance in Conference Notes on Film 05, but the original is never seen. All the Conference Hitlers are from after the 1940s, and Norbert Pfaffenbichler filmed them in Super 8 and black and white from a monitor so that they match. (Olaf Moller)