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Day Is Done

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First the smoking chimney, which the telephoto lens draws up close to us. Then the trains, the clouds and the flocks of birds, the panorama of the city viewed through a wide-angle lens. Airplanes. Time-lapse. Slow-motion. Later, dark rain clouds, sun, snow, moonlight. The street in front of the building: warehouses before which junk is sorted, wine is delivered, a party is thrown. Burning cars, a terrible motorcycle accident. A young woman who day for day picks up her mail and the newspaper, crossing into the frame from the left and returning from the right. In all the years, she never seems to notice the man standing at his window with a camera watching her, recording life as it unfolds in front of his studio.

It is only through the messages on the filmmaker’s answering machine that the viewer notes the passage of time. In the beginning these messages seem a bit funny: calls from happy or disappointed girlfriends, holiday greetings and congratulations. At that point, they are still without any context – but the context soon becomes clear. From then on, every message takes on a historical significance. Illness, death, pregnancy, birth, a break-up, successes, failures. It comes as a shock when we realize that we are in the middle of a life that is more dramatic than any fiction.

Switzerland 2011, 111 min

by

Thomas Imbach