The joy of viewing short film is finding the connections between the present and the past. From the end of the 19th Century, film has developed and left traces of its growth and development that have remained visible, especially now with venues such as YouTube helping to bring them forward. The Patrick Schabus short Junction is a phenomenal example of a film that brought the entire history of film into view.
It is a single static shot, such a contrast to the frantic handheld camerawork that is so previlent in film today, and instead of the camera playing the action, it is the action, in this case a pleasure boat of the variety you might find sailing down the Danube, that passes through the camera's field of vision. It's so incredibly simple, but it calls us back to the nearly one minute shorts that the Lumiere Brothers and Thomas Edison's company pioneered to deliver their short films, actualities as they have come to be called. This locked-down shot is simple, but the textures presented, in the ripples of the water, give it a quality that makes it seem fluid, changing, dynamic.
The subject of the boat passing is a classic as well, and some of the earliest American films were the inverse of this - the camera planted on a ship shooting the passing shore. The Lumieres themselves most famous early film, that of a train pulling into a station, could certainly be seen as a great-grandparent to this short.
The narration is snippets from what I believe are old newsreels of the 40s. The result of over-laying those sounds across the image is lovely, relaxing, intelligent, and most of all, deeply in touch with 120 years of the history of film.
Klaus at Gunpoint
A Film Journal dedicated to all film.A segment of Office Supply Publishing.