The Icarus Films June 12, 2018 7-disc rel;ease "Six Films by Nikolaus Geyrhalter" is one of the latest examples of Icarus expanding the scope of its catalog from "innovative and provocative" documentaries to "films from independent producers worldwide." Unreal TV is providing an example of the American tradition of doing things half-assed by watching three of the six titular documentaries. by this Austrian filmmaker.
General highlights include "Six" being the first U.S. release of three of the films, "Elsewhere" (study of 12 locations in 2000 that escape "millennium hyseria") scoring a 2-disc release, and a Blu-ray version of "Our Daily Bread." That one essentially tells us how the sausage is made in 2005. We also get extras that include a booklet with an essay on Geyrhalter.
The pure cinema-verite style that characterizes the work of Geyrhalter evokes thoughts of his peer and fellow Icarus darling French filmmaker Chantal Akerman. Both artists often let their landscapes and talking heads do all the communicating.
The following YouTube clip of the Icarus trailer for the collection highlights the aforementioned stunning imagery of the Geryhalter joints.
"Six" opens with the classic "Homo Sapiens." This one shows what remains after an apocalypse at the hands of war, climate change, apes, zombies, or robots. The numerous settings of ruins include grand old buildings,, malls, fast-food restaurants, offices, apartment buildings, etc. The common themes are destruction, decay, and over-grown vegetation.
The epic three-hour "Over the Years" intersperses the trademark spectacular chemistry of Geryhalter with a Studs Terkel style "Working" theme. The topic this time is a dying Austrian textile mill. We see images of the administrative and line skeleton crews doing their thing in the almost empty building. We also hear them tell their stories both in and out of the workplace. The title refers both the history of the factory and the scope of the coverage of the lives of the human subjects.
The well-executed grand scope of "Abendland" is the nightlife in several European communities. Much of this action occurs while most residents of EU countries are asleep, This opens with a border station and goes on to include everything from the routine of a night nurse at a nursing home to folks actually producing the product at a porno. film studio.
One of the best segments is of a police station graveyard shift. The excitement there includes a search of an apartment for a fugitive and a high-tech, training exercise. An image of a clean-up at a "crime" scene is one of the most powerful in any of the three films watched for this review.
The last (but not least) member of this sextet is "Pripyat." The distinction of this one extends beyond being the only one filmed in black-and-white. The focus of Geryhalter is on the folks living in the titular community near the Chernobyl nuclear plant.
The takeaway this time is that Geyrhalter calls our attention to the unseen around us. His skill at doing so cannot help but make us think.