Magazine article Screen International

'Untitled' (Michael Glawogger Project): Berlin Review

Magazine article Screen International

'Untitled' (Michael Glawogger Project): Berlin Review

Article excerpt

Michael Glawogger's last unfinished project is crafted into a poetic film by his longterm collaborator

ir. Michael Glawogger, Monika Willi. Austria, Germany. 2017. 107 mins.

In December 2013, filmmaker Michael Glawogger set out on what was intended to be a year-long experimental documentary project. Glawogger's voice at the start of the picture recounts the moment when he became inspired to embark on the movie. "The most beautiful film I could imagine is one which would never come to rest." To this end, Glawogger, his cameraman Attila Boa and sound operator Manuel Siebert set out to travel the world for twelve solid months, and to film what they experienced, with no expectations, restrictions or pre-ordained themes. It was to be organic filmmaking at its most pure and free, a film shaped entirely by serendipity.

But four months and 19 days into the project, Glawogger died in Liberia, from a particularly aggressive form of malaria. This extraordinary, poetic film was crafted by Glawogger's long term collaborator, editor Monika Willa, from the footage shot to that date, and from excerpts from Glawogger's diary.

Even if it were not such a striking and affecting picture, interest would surely be strong on the festival circuit because of Glawogger's reputation and the tragic circumstances of his death. But the fact is that, although Willi can never know how close this is to the film that Glawogger intended, she has crafted something which feels achingly personal and, at times, genuinely profound. The film should generate interest on the specialist theatrical circuit, earning returns on a par with those of Kirsten Johnson's Cameraperson, a film with which it shares formal, if not thematic, similarities.

Despite the lack of an overarching theme or specific subject, Willi builds the film around ideas which clearly preoccupied Glawogger in both his writing and the images to which his lens was drawn. …

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