Documentaries

EVENING'S CIVIL TWILIGHT IN EMPIRES OF TIN

Jem Cohen
AUT, USA, CAN 2008
100min
V'08

The first signs are always easy to overlook. Even the fall of an empire does not happen overnight, not even when the full moon is shining as brightly as it is on the image Jem Cohen chose for his project: Emperor Francis Joseph I. on the evening before the outbreak of World War I, and at the same time the night before the collapse of a dynasty.
In the course of a live event at Vienna's Gartenbaukino on November 1, 2007, Cohen projected images such as this one as part of his Empires of Tin project. Accompanied live on stage by American singer/songwriter Vic Chesnutt and other musicians, Cohen combined historical images of the fall of the Old Europe with film material shot especially in Vienna and New York - a «reflection on the edges of Empire and the Doppler effects of history». Thus Cohen literally reconstructed the end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire whilst reflecting it in an alleged fall of the American Empire.
However, contrary to the USA, Austria-Hungary was an empire of time rather than place. And so Cohen, who filmed the concert himself, constantly interrupts the images and music with perfectly placed commentaries, thus suggesting that the conductor from Joseph Roth's novel «Radetzky March» (1932) saw the first distinctive signs of a dark future - and if it was only because of wielding his baton too late.

Credits
  • Vic Chesnutt
  • Efrim Menuck
  • Jessica Moss
  • Thierry Amar
  • Eric Craven
  • Guy Picciotto
  • Peter Gstach
  • Christian Haake
  • Paolo Calamita
  • Jem Cohen
  • Vic Chesnutt
  • Members of Silver Mt. Zion and Fugazi
  • The Quavers
  • Jem Cohen
Viennale Siebensterngasse 2 1070 Wien T 1 526 59 47 office@viennale.at

Viennale Siebensterngasse 2 1070 Wien T 1 526 59 47 office@viennale.at

Viennale Siebensterngasse 2 1070 Wien T 1 526 59 47 office@viennale.at
Video (Digi Beta)
col
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