fourthreefilm, 16.02.2016

...a reflection on how we ought to think about portraying a crisis...
Ivan Čerečina

(...) The few reviews that have appeared of Havarie have tended to focus on Scheffner’s approach to sound in the film, while in the process speaking very little about the film’s visual qualities.2While I think that Scheffner’s intricate patterning of voices and ambient sounds deserves praise, I found the film’s stark visual track just as striking, both in terms of its unique textures, but also as a way in to thinking about the director’s broader political project in the film. Unfolding at about one frame per second,3 each movement – whether it occurs within the frame or created by the movement of the camera itself – is broken down into a series of jerky, stop-start lurches. This creates the first of a series of curious abstractions, in the sense that the gap between each movement accentuated by the stop-start of the image curtails our feeling of time unfurling freely before the camera. Instead, by accentuating the gaps between each movement (the “holes in time”), these appear as increasingly inadequate images of a moment gone past. (...) In a sense, this abstraction is at the core of what I see as Scheffner’s political project in Havarie, which is to intercede with the influx of images created in the recent media focus on the migrant crisis, an attempt to create (in the film’s producer’s words) “an icon for the pictures that appear daily on the news.”4 Without in any way taking away from the specificity of the event he documents, Scheffner links the stories and trials of those making the crossing to thousands of others who have risked deportation, imprisonment or death attempting the same feat in search of a better life. Full Article