by Caspar STRACKE
1998 / color-b&w / sound / 1S / 79' 00

CIRCLE'S SHORT CIRCUIT is an experimental feature-length work with neither a beginning nor an end—the film can be viewed from any random point. It moves through a circle of five interlocking episodes that describe the phenomenon of interruption in contemporary communication through various forms and modes, investigating causes, consequences, and side-effects. Genres shift along the episodic path of this circle, moving from documentary to essay, through collage, simulated live-coverage, and silent film. As the phenomenon of interruption is seen to be a pervasive part of these genres, the film attends to the act of watching moving images. At the center of the film is a documentary segment on the origin of the biggest upheaval in communication history: the invention of the telephone, initiated by the "man who contracted space," Alexander Graham Bell.

The episode features an interview with Avital Ronell, a theorist and philosopher, who thematically ties up the wires of telephonic circuits and their transcendental counterparts. The film includes homages to the deconstructive tool-maker Jacques Derrida, the French writer Boris Vian, and the ghost of Japanese experimental theater and cinema, Shuji Terayama.

Starring John KELLY, Kyle de CAMP, Charles DUVAL, Annie LOBST, Ishmael HOUSTON-JONES, Richard MOVE, Anastasia SHARP and Avital RONELL.
Original music by: Hahn ROWE, David LINTON, Koosil-ja, Owen O'TOOLE, Gregor ASCH (DJ Olive).

"This 1998 Caspar Stracke feature is one of the rare experimental films in 35-millimeter, and though I could preview it only on video, it kept me fascinated even in that format. Stracke describes it as moving in a circle with neither a beginning nor an end; in the version I saw, the credits come in the middle. A lecture on the philosophical and psychoanalytic implications of the invention of the telephone by theorist Avital Ronell eventually turns into a story in black and white about a woman who has a lotus blossom growing in her left lung; at different times this film comes across as documentary, essay, performance art, and silent throwback (complete with intertitles and irises), and the capabilities and rhetoric associated with both computers and VCRs play a part in the continuously shifting and evolving discourse."
- Jonathan Rosenbaum


distribution format Digital file on server (PAL)
screen 4/3 (single screen)
speed 25 fps
sound sound
original language English
rental fee 210,00 €