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Size Matters Part Ii: Feature-Length Experimental Video

Wednesday, March 1, 2000
Der Riese (The Giant)
Michael Klier Germany, 1983

Comprised entirely of material generated by surveillance cameras, Der Riese is a rhapsodic but ominous work depicting the world with a cold mechanical spirit. That nothing can escape the chill stare of surveillance is only the starting point of Klier's tape. People come and go in public places-parks, department stores, banks, airports-like lifeless ciphers, unaware of the authoritarian stare of the camera. The flattened field of vision, black-and-white imagery, and sterile quality of the technology make the inhabitants of Der Riese emptied shadows. They are the signs of life; truly signs, not the flesh rendered in two dimensions. Lyrically constructed sequences unfold to the strains of Mahler and Wagner, adding an almost heroic mood to much of this dark work. But this is where Der Riese excels-footage seemingly impervious to meaning here acquires the energy of high drama. Even the unblinking eye of the surveillance camera can be foiled.-Steve Seid

• (82 mins, B&W, 3/4" video, From The Kitchen)