Gespenster. Phantoms. Phantômes


1987, 00:21:13, PAL, color, sound, H022 04

Inspired by the idea that video images can transform objects and figures into spectral phenomena, in Gespenster. Phantoms. Phantômes Hulverscheidt transports Ivan Turgenev’s 1864 story about a dramatic love relationship between a wealthy landowner and a puzzling, spectral figure to 1980s Berlin. The video experiment consists of apocalyptic architectures, elements of a new wave aesthetic, hard edits, nocturnal shots, fast travelling shots, video dissolves, and an experimental sound design that repeatedly includes brief fragments from Turgenev’s narrative (in part in Russian). Hulverscheidt uses suggestive images and rejects a linear narrative structure, generating an unsettling effect by way of the resulting inscrutability. “A film emerges from spirits, but does not consist of those spirits,” Hulverscheidt says about his “ghost-phantom montage.” Sturz also is based on the notion that things in the video image transform in a fantastic way: here into the model of a skyscraper images of an animated landscape, a face, and an interior are projected, whereby the light seems to detach itself from the “objects” (which actually only consist of light). Like Gespenster. Phantoms. Phantômes, Sturz is created using collage, and also based on a literary source, H.G. Wells’ short story The Country of the Blind about a place where all knowledge of vision has been lost. After these reflections on the conditio humana, since the late 1980s increasingly political, social, and historical themes have become the focus of Hulverscheidt’s film work, that seeks to combine a poetic approach with objective content and oscillates between documentary and fiction. In recent years, Hulverscheidt has conceived and realized various documentaries that have been presented at film festivals and broadcast by the television stations 3sat, Arte, and ZDF. Alongside his film work, he also creates theme evenings.