DAS GESTELL is an experimental essay based on the Japanese fascination for the thought of German philosopher Martin Heidegger and interpretations of his works on the relation between humans and technology.
The film shows landscapes, spaces and situations that display the permeation of a region and a society by technology. DAS GESTELL is mainly set in the second biggest urban agglomeration of Japan, the Kansai region between the cities of Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe.
Shot on Super 8, the film images evoke an incertitude as to which time they belong to. Their graininess points toward the past while some of them appear as if they were from a parallel future, one that did not originate in our current present. Likewise, the letters, biographical trivia, and philosophical texts that make for the source material of the subtitles of the work, originated in the 20th century but transcend time in both directions. The writings’ motivations and their underlying stereotypes of what is considered specifically German and what is considered genuinely Japanese point towards darker days past, while revealing the banal proof of a timeless inability of dealing with the Other.