Special: The Geography of the Labyrinth: Tih-Minh and Out 1 – Noli Me Tangere

Two great serials of the history of cinema by Louis Feuillade and Jacques Rivette

“TV is better than the movies” has recently been a recurring argument in view of new, innovative and primarily American TV formats. This refers to a number of US television serials, which for the past ten years have been venerated like a kind of cult by critics, connoisseurs and selected audiences alike. Indeed, actual “sophisticated communities” have been established around individual series, and these news forms have also found their way into the program of film festivals. Of course, the characteristic feature of these formats lies in their nature of succession, continuation – essentially in the serial as such. Revolving around this idea of the serial, which is as old as the history of cinema, is a double program of this year’s Viennale. It consists of two unconventional as well as central examples – two moments, in which cinema reinvents itself in its continuation. The first is the almost seven-hour, twelve-episode serial TIH-MINH (1918) by Louis Feuillade, a production that has always been overshadowed by his legendary LES VAMPIRES, but is probably the director’s richest and most mature work. And the second is Jacques Rivette’s mysterious film fleuve OUT1: NOLI ME TANGERE, an unparalleled twelve-hour cinematic daydream in eight episodes that has hardly ever been shown in its entirety. Both are fantastic stories of amnesia, paranoia and conspiracy; both reveal exorbitant parallel worlds of collapsing collectives, dissolving certainties and labyrinthine tales. According to Jonathan Rosenbaum, the one is the bourgeoisie’s attempt at self-reflection following the horrors of the First World War, the other the reflection of bohemian society after the shattered hopes of 1968. Two major, magnificent film serials, connected underground over half a century. Cinema as the better cinema.