A la Intemperie

Raúl Bajo Ibañez

The title suggests the state of helplessness. The images, which are either appropriated or come from an archive - these latter belonging to the universal history of infamy-, follow each other fluidly within the frame, of a landscape format and with a cinematographic character. With these the author aims to propose “a black and white exploration of the spaces of threat and unrest... a disturbing staging of horror... a devastating reflection amongst the ruins of our modern concept of civilization”. At the core of the video, images from “Olympia”, Leni Riefensthal’s cinematographic monument to Berlin’s 1936 Olympic Games, alternate with those of the raw testimonies of the jewish holocaust. Thus, a contrast is established between, on the one hand,  the celebration of aryan beauty and Hitler’s special fondness for gymnastic geometries, and, on the other, the subjugated bodies and the piled corpses in the nazi concentration camps and death factories.

The video opens with a flurry of fiction images, from action and science-fiction films, that concludes with the apocalyptic image of an exploding world. From this moment onwards, the rhythm slows down and the screen becomes graver, in that it now reflects the sordidness of the cinematographic memory of the nazi extermination camps. This film memory is juxtaposed to the slowed down flourishes of the overwhelming olympic documentary with which Riefenstahl once again gifted the Führer. A few further extemporaneous shots of nuclear explosions and atomic mushroom clouds are inserted followed by images of devastated cities, with one holocaust survivor, disconcerted, wondering the ruins. The piece is then prolonged after a quote by Zygmunt Bauman with its last shot, that of a misleadingly affable Hitler.

These images have been repeated and manipulated to such a degree in all kinds of audiovisual arrangements, that their power of impact is dissolved into a wellmeaning exercise, which once more appeals to the archives, to the sources of historic and moral memory. However, these images are then linked to others which suggest a more generic view about the management of violence nowadays, as is also pointed at in the endquote by the author of “Modernity and The Holocaust”.

Technical datasheet

  • Title: A la Intemperie
  • Direction: Raúl Bajo Ibañez
  • Production: Raúl Bajo Ibañez. 2003.
  • Duration: 00:04:18
  • Original format: Mini DV
  • Formats: Betacam Digital - DVD
  • TV systems: NTSC - PAL
  • License: Copyright