"Pièce Touchée", Martin Arnold, 1989

Arnold´s original material is a piece of “found-footage” from the 50ies. 18 seconds long and very typical for the period. A quiet take: a living room, a woman in an arm-chair. Her husband opens the door, kisses her, then moves out of the picture accompanied by a disturbing pan, his wife follows him. In Arnold´s film the sequence takes 16 minutes. Frame by frame, it becomes an exiting tango of movements. But “Pièce Touchée” is more than just a matter of forms. The reflections, distortions and delays it displays challenge Hollywood´s stable system of space and time. (Alexander Horwath)

"Passage à l'acte", Martin Arnold, 1993

Passage à l'acte

Four people at the breakfast table, an American family, locked in the beat of the editing table. The short, pulsating sequence at the family table shows, in its original state, a classic, deceptive harmony. Arnold deconstructs this scenario of normality by destroying its original continuity. It catches on the tinny sounds and bizarre body movements of the subjects, which, in reaction, become snagged on the continuity. The message which lies deep under the surface of the family idyll, suppressed or lost, is exposed - that message is war. The first shock, the first flight, the fear at the beginning of the film: the son jumps up from the table and throws open the door which sticks in an Arnoldian loop of hard, hammering rhythm. He is compelled to return to the table by the mechanically repeated paternal order, “Sit down”. And at the end, when the two children spring up, finally released from their bondage, Arnold is again caught at the door; at the infernally hammering door, as if it were completely senseless to try to leave here - this location of childhood and two-faced cinema. (Stefan Grissemann)

Alone. Life Wastes Andy Hardy, Martin Arnold, 1998

Alone. Life Wastes Andy Hardy, Martin Arnold, 1998

Alone. Life Wastes Andy Hardy

In his film “Alone. Life Wastes Andy Hardy” which, together with “Pièce Touchée” and “Passage à l'acte” , forms a sort of trilogy of compulsive repetition, Arnold´s campaign of deconstruction of classic Hollywood film codes finally turns to film music. The process links in with the other two films. The family scenes, which in the original last only seconds and are not particularly notable, are surgically sectioned into single frames. Using repetition of these "single cells" and a new rhythm - a kind of cloning procedure - Arnold then creates an inflated, monstrous doppelgänger of the original cuts lasting many minutes. The hidden message of sex and violence is turned inside out to the point where it simply crackles. In “Alone. ...” the crossing of three harmless teenager films gives birth to an Oedipal drama in which not only mother love mutates to sheer lust. Since “Passage à l’acte”, and contrary to other found-footage filmmakers who choose to remove their work into the realms of silent nostalgia, Arnold has re-worked the sound track along with the image. Because of this what one hears in “Alone. ...” is the eerie, rasping "silence" of sound film, pregnant with suppressed tension. And exactly at the point where the illusion of full, living present is seemingly at its strongest - in the screen presence of Judy Garland singing - one senses the machine, and, implicitly, death, at work. (Dirk Schaefer)
Martin Arnold films
9 July, 14.30h
Auditório Municipal de Vila do Conde

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