The Golden Gate

This hour-long, mostly abstract 1992 film by German independent JŸrgen Reble is rather moving, though the shifting imagery, paired with a spacey sound track that’s halfway between collage and synthesized music, is a bit trippy by the end. The occasional representational image from a nature film or of a radio antenna is followed by patterns that are often made through chemically manipulating the film stock–something Reble, a member of the filmmaking collective Schmelzdahin (“Meltaway”), has been experimenting with for years. Reble says he’s after an “inner light,” and the film progresses through sections titled with city names and dates to a long final section whose title refers to the Latin saying that means “To the stars through difficulties,” suggesting the goal behind the abstractions. What makes it all work is the way the abstractions seem almost organic, as if the imagery were transforming itself in the manner of growing crystals or lichen. And there’s tension throughout between imagery as growth and as decay: the streaks and smears that follow occasional unmanipulated photographs seem to represent celluloid falling apart or destroying itself; at the same time these half-random, half-repeated patterns appear to be the building blocks for a new kind of imagery in some alternate universe. Kino-Eye Cinema at Chicago Filmmakers, 1543 W. Division, Sunday, April 6, 7:00, 773-384-5533. –Fred Camper

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): film still.