Monday, November 26, 2012

an unintentional(?) remake

werckmeister harmonies, whale, bela tarr, whaling, requiem 2019
requiem 2019, werckmeister harmonies, rutger hauer, whaling,
Top: Werckmeister Harmonies (Tarr, 2000); Bottom: Requiem 2019 (Rutger Hauer & Sil Van Der Woerd, 2012)

The short film Requiem 2019 is based on an experience Rutger Hauer once had in a canoe:

I literally looked straight into the eye of a whale. It is something that every man on Earth should experience. We must not be allowed to destroy these beautiful creatures. The consequences would be enormous. This is how we got around to the theme for Requiem 2019. Sil and I simply had to make something to stop people hunting down these wonderful creatures. I can’t go along with Sea Shepherd during their campaign. It’s better for me to do what I do best, and here it is!

With such good intentions, it's a shame the result is so terrible! That aside, what I find most interesting is that a much better version of Requiem 2019 already exists, though it's hidden within a much longer film. Aided by loud, melancholy music, two men come face to face with a fake whale (man-made in one film, computer generated in the other). And in a similar contrast of styles, the (human) viewer is left to do the thinking in Tarr's film while in Requiem 2019 the CGI whale "does the thinking" for us (it displays images on its body, alerting us to what it is we're supposed to be contemplating).

How fitting that the image from Requiem 2019 that most evokes Werckmeister Harmonies is a mirrored one.

1 comment:

Tyler said...

In a way, "doing the thinking for us" is the ideology behind computer generated imagery. The spectacle has to look as real as possible (forget that most CGI is ugly) so that the viewer isn't "taken out of the picture." But why does it matter whether or not something that everyone already knows isn't real look as real as possible? Perhaps because there's a lack of faith in people's capacity for using their imaginations themselves.