, 81min, OmeU
TONI had its theatrical release in 1935 and was groundbreaking. It is impossible to categorize this wonderful film as either documentary or fictional. TONI features three interwoven elements. Playing an important role are landscapes (also those shaped by people) and the camera movements used to shoot that footage as well as the rapidly passing landscape filmed from a train. TONI works like a stage play. Viewers and listeners are not supposed to be carried away but to participate.
The music of TONI, guitar sounds and singing by Italians, was mostly recorded along with images and integrated, sometimes continuing offscreen as the scene unfolded. The singing of these people from Piedmont constitutes an essential part of Renoir’s film; nothing serves as accompaniment. The aim is not so much to trigger emotions but (initially) thoughts. Although the singing stands for itself, it is inseparably linked to the narrative and – as a story of migrant workers (who came from Piedmont and other places) – to history. (Peter Nestler)
With V’09-TRAILER: FIRE & RAIN by James Benning