2017 4K 98 Minutes 7.1 Sound Colour 24f/s 1:2.39


Premiere at the Viennale 2017 on October 23rd in the Urania Cinema

A film with no answers but as many questions as there are stars in the universe, Austrian structuralist Johann Lurf has chosen an audacious and ever-expanding subject for his feature film debut: the stars of cinema. Not the movie stars, but the stars in the night’s sky, pinpricks of light against the darkness excerpted from films beginning at cinema’s dawn and continuing to this present day in a project that is planned to be expanded yearly. These stellar instances, riven from context with sound intact—ambient hums, grand orchestral scores, pedantic explanations, dreamy speculation—are magical fields of darkness sprinkled with possibilities. Lurf’s jazzy editing, balancing tranquil concentration and jumpy jitters based on his methodology of retaining each clip’s length, image and sound, sends the audience on a journey across the tones of promise and threat that emanate from the cosmos. A subject difficult if not impossible to accurately photograph on film, we are therefore greeted again and again by the varied interpretations of the starry night by matte artists and special effects wizards, gazing now in stillness, now in careening motion across or into space at incandescent nebulae, distant twinkling dots, and the black void in-between. Surveying a history of cinema’s fixation with, and escape to, outer space, we find both what audiences in their own times saw up there, as well as mirrors of our own wonderment: Awe, terror, hope, arrogant confidence, melancholic yearning and blank, awesome silence. These are the rare moments when the movie audience, backs to the projector, in fact faces light projected at them: Our eyes are the screens for the cinema of the stars.
Daniel Kasman 2017

Johann Lurf is one of a kind, an experimentalist, a dreamer, a movie buff, a romantic in search of forensic traces, perhaps a little reclusive. His cinematographic short-film etudes, such as VERTIGO RUSH, 12 EXPLOSION or his fascinating, ever-circling, globally Austrian film panorama about roundabouts, KREIS WR.NEUSTADT, challenged standard ways of perception, putting them up for discussion and reflection, infinitely. His next step comes as little surprise: the universe. “I started experimenting eight years ago, and now the film is finally ready for screening. I was longing for 90 minutes of images of the night sky throughout the entire history of film, original length, format, sound. So many languages, perspectives, hopes. The age-old gaze into the sky. Dreamt, photographed, virtually pure cinéma vérité.” Lurf’s film is a pandemonium of the most beautiful and the saddest dreams, a ballet of brightly lit gas clouds, a symphony of human fears and rescue fantasies. Not just film historians, astronomers, polyglots, we all have every reason to look forward to it. To dreaming, to soaring, floating, earthily.
Viennale in October 2017

Throughout all of film history shots of clear night-time skies have been collected and compiled into chronological order. What is intended to appear as an absolute image for humans, a constant through time, reveals itself as unstable. This occurs not only because the technical parameters are constantly transforming, but also as a result of period specific trends in visual culture. Regardless of these rapid changes, today it still proves challenging to record this moving image.

The film will be released when it reaches 90 minutes in its duration; however the length of the director's cut will be infinite.
Translation: Seth Weiner

Das Lurf’sche Kino: Blickirritationen, optische und akustische Verfremdungen, faszinierende, seltene Filme. Bisher. Doch mittlerweile scheint der Planet Erde zu klein für des Filmemachers Sehnsucht und er greift nach den Sternen. Acht Jahre arbeitete Lurf an diesem Werk, dem Panorama des Himmels, gesehen aus der Perspektive eines Filmliebhabers. Filmausschnitte, Sprachfetzen, Sternenballett, choreografiert von einer Göttin, die niemand kennt. Alles chronologisch, von der Stummfilmzeit bis heute. Nicht weniger als 90 Minuten träumen, 13 Sprachen lernen, sich fürchten und freuen – ein ganz außergewöhnlicher Abenteuerfilm, allein schön, zu zweit noch schöner.
Viennale im Oktober 2017

„*“ wirft Blicke in den Himmel Traumhaft gibt sich auch „*“ von Johann Lurf, an dem der Filmemacher immerhin acht Jahre gewerkt hat: Das Himmelszelt in unterschiedlichsten Variationen, aus verschiedensten Blickwinkeln der Filmgeschichte gezeigt und inszeniert, bietet folglich ein höchst ungewöhnliches Sehvergnügen, das sich stilistisch von der Stummfilmzeit bis ins Heute zieht.
orf.at 10. Oktober 2017

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