Havarie Screen 9 articles

Havarie

2016

Havarie Poster
  • A prime example of an AV praxis dear to the discourse-happy hipster crowd. It’s all about intentions and attitudes instead of engagement, be it emotional or political. “Reflection” is the name of the game. This is a cinema for people who like to talk about problems, and believe their erudite-seeming but vacuous babbling is helpful.

  • The implications of Havarie are profound, even if the experience of watching it may test your patience. Which, of course, is part of the point. You may also end up chastising yourself. If your theater seat’s getting a little uncomfortable, imagine three days and nights standing out there on that damn boat.

  • The step-by-step, frame-by-frame sequence of low-grade digital footage, which looks as if it were probably shot on a FujiFilm point-and-shoot camera, acquires a hypnotic quality over its running time, and is scored by what sounds like a cast of several characters and re-enactments of radio dispatches reporting boats packed with people floating towards Europe... [But] the project ends up sitting, unfortunately for Scheffner, fairly unfavorably next to Gianfranco Rosi’s Fire at Sea...

  • The contrast between the varied perspectives we hear and the limited perspective we see is indeed forceful, as is the imaginative space Havarie constructs by requiring us to project these peoples and stories heard both onto the anonymous sufferers on the boat and the anonymous "watchers" from the cruise ship (and by implication, on land, in cities, in our cinema). Yet, inevitably the experience is tedious...

  • Western aesthetic theory since Kant would tell us that we are enraptured by the ocean because its apparent limitlessness creates for us the fear and awe associated with the Sublime. But Havarie’s fixed frame and excruciating slowness defiantly impose limits upon the Mediterranean. It becomes a hurdle, a border, a possible site of death.

  • This world appears hyper-present and monstrous, until it vanishes into the abstractions of a backlit scene. Afterwards, the camera moves back to the blue expanse, returning to its unsettling default position.

  • Scheffner relishes points of contact, where film exceeds its role as entertainment and information to effect real change. He takes up the audiovisual tools of filmmaking as if they were a microscope, telescope and stethoscope trained on humanity – aids to our sight and hearing – ways to notice and deconstruct our world while also participating actively in it.

  • Don’t let anyone tell you about this, one of two films Philip Scheffner had at the Berlinale this year. See it cold, if possible. The simplicity of the visual concept contrasts with the intricately layered soundtrack to create the most potent portrait of “the world right now” I saw this year.

  • It’s this rich broadband that Scheffner evokes so potently. Havarie bores, mystifies, invites us to lean in, makes us self-conscious about looking at—and consuming—images of migrants. That strikes me as engagement. That strikes me as political too. If it generates the discourse that Olaf Moller abhors, so much the better.

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