Berlinale: Programme

Film file


Stemple Pass

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An isolated cabin set amongst a group of small trees, a forest rising up behind it that grows progressively thicker to cover the mountain peak beyond. Four static shots, each from the same angle and each half an hour in length: spring, fall, winter and finally summer. Birdsong, flies, mist over the peak, rain, snow, a sunset. A voice that periodically intrudes on these tranquil scenes, reading out passages from the writings of infamous anti-technology terrorist Ted Kaczynski, the cabin being a replica of his own one. Accounts of living on hunted meat, small acts of vandalism, homemade bombs, fingers being blown off, remorse or lack of it, the beauty of nature, environmental destruction, the repressive current order.
The relationship between text and image winds its way between association, correlation and contrast; fascination gives way to disgust, indignation to identification. Yet by the close, text and image have re-converged to ravishing effect. As the sun’s rays weaken and the trees gradually turn red and then black, the senses have been sharpened in just the way Kaczynski describes: a heightened, almost blissful feel for nature that emerges from pure duration.

USA 2012, 121 min


James Benning