The Arrival of a Train – Michael Pilz.

Daira Abolina

On the occasion of „Arsenals“, International Filmfestival Riga, Latvia, 1994, catalogue.

Darkness in the light. Silence in the noise. The white inside the black.

And the world was created. Not the world of God, but the world of Pilz's films. Wherever his films are being shown, the sensually exciting, but meditative film rhythm aroses discussions. They appeared also in Riga, during the Arsenal, two years ago. Pilz uses film language not only in order to make films, but also for creating a screen-model of the philosophical world perception.

In 30 years he has made 30 films, or maybe peculiar film scretches, where both the philosophical and the visual levels of thinking are equally important. Pilz stands outside the Austrian and, I think, also the world cinema context. As every thinker, every searcher for the sense of life and existence, he is solitary. His films are so simple that they become complicated. And vice versa. People in his films never pose in front of the camera, never explain anything. Actors do not play their roles. They have a different task, which is not even set by Pilz – they must live their life and understand why doing it. Whatever the director does, no matter how insignificant are the actions caught by the camera, he always keeps in mind one thing: everything is transitive and eternal at the same time. Something's end is always something's beginning. Each meeting will end in a parting. As the wise men of the East have admitted, this Grand Borderline is absolute, and all films by Pilz are balancing on this transparent line, which is both yes and no, both to be and not to be, both peace and movement. That is why a man and a woman in FELDBERG (1990, known also to the Riga audience) are continously looking for each other to loose each other. But inability to stay together doesn't mean a tragedy, and happiness is not hiding in ecstasy.

All films by Pilz are silently dramatic. People are one part of the common rhythm, creating life and movement.

Pilz is operating with great notions, but he doesn't use pathos or nervousness. Heaven and Earth, Fire and Water, Woman and Man, Life and Death – these are the basic principles, without which neither the world can exist nor Pilz can start discussions about big and small matters. To be able to say that you have enjoyed Pilz's film world, you must have seen at least one work of his. One of the most laconic and philosophically deepest films is the 14 minutes long PARK OF MEMORIES (PARCO DELLE RIMEMBRANZE, 1987). In one of the parks of Venice, the director lets us feel the moment before the beginning of twilight. Mankind in between day and night. The poliphony of everyday noises, the sunset and we. Seemingly indifferent is the eye of the camera, when it watches the fragment of life, that has been caught by the film frame. Nothing here is too important or less important, here are no events or personages. The event is the evening and the moment, and that we can feel it. It is no use watching Pilz's films just with our eyes, you should also feel them. The power of the picture as if comes from the very depth. The world can become transparent and thus better understandable, says the director. To prove it, he switches off the picture in his PARK OF MEMORIES for the whole length of the one third of the film, and the black screen makes us understand that the world, perceived by eyes only, cannot be guessed. It is neither or worse from what we have imagined, just a bit different: more sensual, exciting and, actually, never to be explored. The director urges us to search for the essence with all our senses. The rational way of living has dulled them, made them blunt and even unnecessary. Pilz's films with the help of words. It would be the same as to define what is love or life. Everybody understands them differently – not only because everybody has a different understanding of the sense. The viewers of his films are given a chance not just to find their own explanation to the events, they can also create them in their imagination.

The director uses a multistage sign language, and the key to it should be looked for in the Oriental philosophy, in the works of F. Kafka, J. P. Sartre, S. Beckett. Yet, his films may be enjoyed also without deciphering philosophical rebuses. You will have lost nothing, you will just have seen different films. Here lies the uniqueness of Pilz's films. You can relish in them like in rain or in mist, not thinking that your emotions have been created by tiny drops of water with a certain chemical formula.

Films should not be aggressive and should not violently impose on the human mind. I want the viewers to create them together with me and use in this process as much emotions as they themselves wish and can, says Pilz.

This director is often called a master of visual sculpture. His films have both the mistery and clarity. This is an invitation to meditate about our existence and choice, and it guarantees a meeting with emotions which are created by consciousness and subconsciousness.

© Daira Abolina