Monday, 21 November 2016

133 (d. eugeni bonet & eugènia balcells)

133 is a curio. The story goes that in 1979, in Barcelona, Eugeni Bonet came across a record which contained 133 sound effects. He and his co-director, Eugènia Balcells, would collect old footage from the Barcelona flea markets. They set about selecting a piece of footage for each on of the 133 sound effects. The resulting film is 45 minutes long. Some sound effects last for no more than a few seconds. Each moment is stitched together with a brief frame of black. The 133 moments are encyclopaedic. There is home footage from people’s super-8 cameras. There are scientific treatises. There’s documentary footage. There are also clips from old studio films. There’s black and white footage and colour footage. Some images are banal: a plane sound effect has footage of a plane. Others are spectacular, including a memorable black and white sequence where a group of Africans try and fail to capture an elephant. Some moments appear diagetic, with the sound effect complementing the image on screen; others are subversive, with the sound effect making a commentary on the images, or vice versa. Although it wouldn’t be quite true to say the whole world of cinema is contained within the film’ s 45 minutes, what might be true to say is that the film, a sublime Borgesian text if ever there was one, offers the possibility of imagining what a film containing every possible permutation of cinema might look like. This is simultaneously one of the most down-at-heel, straightforward films ever constructed, requiring nothing more than the capacity to select and edit footage, and also one of the most elaborately ambitious films ever made, with aspirations to a vision of cinematic possibility that the sly premise gradually reveals. If you can ever find a way to catch it, do so, it will be one of the best spent 45 minutes of your brief life. 

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