In 1959, Jean Seberg stares into Raoul Coutard’s 35mm camera lens and then turns – the closing frame of Godard’s Breathless is the back of her head. For the film it is a closing. For her character it is less clear. Is it a refusal? A denial? A shying away from? An admission of guilt or not caring? A disappearing act? In 2017 on the streets of Berlin, twenty-three women, friends and passersby, reverse Seberg’s action.
This Film and Turn were commissioned by the Arsenal and Film Feld Forschung for a particular future. A copy of each will be placed in a heated terrarium to track the films’ demise. For This Film, printed on polyester, it will mean accelerated fading perhaps red to sunset orange then to a hazy pastel. For Turn, printed on volatile acetate, the change will be quicker and more dramatic, as it falls victim to vinegar syndrome. Acetic acid will be released, the base will shrink and buckle, the image will decompose. Through off-gassing, this seemingly unchanging spool of dark plastic will not only be in constant flux but will also have the ability to infect others of its kind.
Post production coordinator: markus ruff
Sound mix: jochen jewzusser
Producer: film feld forschung/archive blah blah
Negative cutter: monika dörge
Lab: andec filmtechnic
Timing: Ludwig draser
Scan: korn manufaktur
Berlinale/Forum Expanded, Germany, Opening
Image Forum Festival, Tokyo, Japan (travelling)
Cairo Video Festival, Egypt