Gartenberg Media Enterprises is proud to present a DVD edition (published by Re:Voir) of Jürgen Reble’s PASSION (1989-1990), a key experimental film that explores, in cosmic fashion, the materiality and fragility of the film image.
"The basic idea is that it is impossible to fix film. Film is something which is always in a state of flux... The images, "real" in the beginning, gradually disintegrate and the gelatin layer – where the chemicals are embedded – dissolves. All that's left in the end is the 'raging of the elements'..."
– Jürgen Reble
Jürgen Reble, was a founding member of the German filmmaking group "Schmelzdahin" (1979–1989). This collaborative primarily focused on exploring the film material through bacterial processes and weathering. The filmmakers submitted both the film’s plastic base and its crystalline emulsion to multiple natural and mechanical alterations, sometimes exposing film to the sun (hung from the branches of a tree) or burying it. The films were then printed and sometimes mechanically altered on the optical printer.
They progressively abandoned experiments with bacterial decomposition, environmental effects, and mechanical alterations in favor of chemical intervention. PASSION is a personal film-journey in which Reble accompanies his unborn child through a ritual, following the seasons until his birth. Although similar in subject to Stan Brakhage’s WINDOW WATER BABY MOVING (1959), Reble’s film PASSION is a conceptual and stylistic departure from that film. Disruptions are caused by cosmic and natural phenomena (eclipses and volcanic eruptions), and human figures often disintegrate into vibrating chemical particles. Reble unites the molecular with the cosmic and birth with death, ultimately affirming the fragility of life, images of which are embedded on the substance of the organic celluloid film strip.
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