EMPIRES OF TIN (CONSTELLATION)
FSK 12! The Vienna International Film Festival (Viennale) takes place in October of each year. For the 2007 edition, New York filmmaker Jem Cohen was commissioned to close the festival, which he did with his program entitled Evening's Civil Twilight In Empires Of Tin.
This piece, inspired by Joseph Roth's novel The Radetsky March, is a meditation on the decline of empires, juxtaposing images from the twilight stages of the Hapsburg empire and WWI with footage from present-day Vienna and Cohen's hometown of Brooklyn, NY, where he traces his own visual meditations on the twilight of American empire.
An impressionistic narrative is constructed through live readings from the texts of Joseph Roth, and a live musical score performed by Vic Chesnutt, members from The Silver Mt Zion, Guy Piciotto (Fugazi), and The Quavers.
The music includes improvisations, wonderfully blown-out interpretations of Strauss' "The Radetsky March", and bracing renditions of a number of Vic Chesnutt songs.
The result is a sort of agit-prop hallucination, a string of film vignettes bound by the poetry of Roth's writing and by the sounds and songs of the live musicians.