Sunday, May 15, 2011

Jannicke Låker Når du leser Dette(as you read this)2010, 35 minutes, color, with Lo Kauppi, Matthias Matz, Henrik der Minassian, Norbert Stöß, Roman

Jannicke Låker Når du leser Dette (as you read this) 2010, 35 minutes, color, with Lo Kauppi, Matthias Matz, Henrik der Minassian, Norbert Stöß, Roman Kanonik, produced by Helga Fjordholm, film report by craniv boyd.


Depression strikes in Jannicke Låker´s recent short film Når du leser Dette, (as you read this) fear of the outside world is taken on and force fed towards the audience as a dish served slowly, like cold Chinese take out food, home delivered to a Berliner Zimmer that oddly enough retains a order of fish tank experience.


The film is for 30 out of 35 minutes taken from a stationary camera angle that follows the action of one woman that transpires on screen. The player, Lo Kauppi, creating inhabiting the character of E. Nordal, Eva, with dark hair and tattoos she is alone in her apartment and agonizing over something. She moves in her room that is in fact a set, built for a sound stage in Norway. The viewers are captive and at the start of the film there are German men knocking on the door, complaining about how she is flooding the whole HAUS, requesting in stern voices that she open up.


The camera goes back in time, or rather we the viewers see the same information from the same angle of presentation, rather the lighting is most subdued, glaring white walls and harsh day light are replaces by dim blue hues that surround a pair of lovers man woman crouching on the floor, speaking in German, the man it appears is taking his belongings and going on a trip, he pleads with the woman weakly who replies in mono syllables, he stands after uttering pet names in Norwegian, and mentions that she can change her mind and take the train with him, she gets up and hands him a shirt underscoring the finality of her choice, don't forget to take this, he stuffs the article of clothing into a blue Ikea bag and leaves. She sinks to the floor.


The film progresses episodically in stations metered with fades to black, micro scenes that are ever increasing in their emotional intensity, yet in and of them selves are lucid moments of little action. Eva sleeps on a wool blanket laid on the lacquered parquet floor the camera shows us that there is a bed in a bedroom with the door ajar; does her decision to sleep on the floor have something to do with the German boyfriend that left in the previous scene?


The details, attention and care paid to the set design, objects in the room, how objects like bottles and aluminum take out trays progress and journey from tabletop to floor top to chair and vanish all in a consistent frame brings us a subtle meaning emphasized in the continuity of the narrative. Because the frame and camera angle are unshakable and inescapable we are trapped and captive, thinking that we are seeing the same image over and over, the scene fades to black and the same stage or setting reappears the memory of the last frame before black readjusts to the current frame after black the mind becomes aware of the periphery and the things or the light or where the character Eva is in this setting.


Little Bird


The yellow canary is an excellent supporting actor in this film. I see the bird as a foil towards the possible thinking of Eva's character, the bird seems to reflect at times the behavior of its keeper, when Eva is still and drinking wine seated on a chaise the bird is still, as she with great agitation switches from song to song on I-Tunes on her Macintosh computer drinking wine whisky and beer alternately the little bird mirrors her movement and contributes tension by just flapping and hopping around its cage, as its owner flails around her larger metaphoric cage of her apartment.


Prince Norway


Eva does not answer her phone we hear a telephone message watching her receive the message and ignore it, a work or travel opportunity to cover a news story and research for her book, in sub equatorial Africa, Angola of all places and Prince Håkon of Norway being the reason because of a publicity stunt or charity event showing the Angolans how to put on a condom. This moment, the attention to detail, is not central to development of the film yet it serves to locate Eva's character the message is given in Norwegian, the speaker provides all sorts of clues about the who mute protagonist on the floor is, by speaking of what she does what kind of work she is being offered. This message loosely based on an actual event locates the year the action transpired, Norwegian Prince traveling to Africa to show that condoms are not evil by being seen in public informing Africans how to use them in the fight against AIDS, it draws attention or an invisible line between two oil rich nations Angola and Norway that are often not spoken in the same sentence. To accent Eva's neglect and refusal to answer her home phone, as soon as the message ends vibrating of a mobile telephone starts Eva is willfully unresponsive on the floor, and the micro scene ends without movement.


Reluctant Voyeur


I find the viewer ship most uncomfortable when the character in the film is singing along to music barely audible on her large studio quality earphones. It is one of the moments when the awkwardness of my viewer ship is most apparent, a woman mid thirties lying on the floor in a green tee shirt with orange piping and underwear tapping her leg to the rhythm of punk rock music, thinking that this is not made for viewing, the player is so convincing in her bubble on her stage that she is able to seal her self off, from the film shoot, and from the audience, yet the singing voice implies an audience yet her singing is for no person at all, it could be a kind of participatory urge some feel when hearing popular music. 


Wardrobe Paralysis


One actor who wears the same thing for the majority of the film a kind of uniform for the interior, the changes in wardrobe become indicative of emotional states of the character, depression under wear shirt socks, elation make up and a skirt, despair a soaking wet grey button-down shirt barely buttoned down.


Past Present


Relating this work to previous works of the same author, recurrent themes emerge populating the film with short cameos of tropes, which reënforce a kind of well-developed artwork consistency that reflects personal interests of Jannicke Låker. The Delivery man scenario where a palpable sexual tension is made available with the female customer desperately searching for paper currency without pants on and the delivery man entering reluctantly and steering his gaze embarrassed downwards corresponds to an work from 2003, Sketch for a Rape Scene where Jannicke Låker builds tension yet subverts presumptions human viewer can and most likely do form from the title of the work. The blocking of Lo Kauppi prone at times on the floor could bear some tangential resemblance to Playing Dead of 2006, a man helplessly minimally moving in a pool of his own blood as the radio blares a static saturated German Polka. Sunday Mornings of 2007, dedicated to all single women in Berlin is eerily close to Når du leser Dette, in that the space and camera angles at times the apartments themselves where the action transpires appear as doppelgänger, what is at first comical in Marika Enstad's tour du force performance in Sunday Mornings turns brutal in its self generated senselessness, helpless figure trapped in a dress suffering through a hang over like a post modern sculptural tower. Viewed from the tricky distance of generalization the oeuvre of Jannicke Låker up to this point as I am familiar with it seems to be one where solitary figures are pitted against a scenario of existential purport, their activity ¾of either fighting invisible assailants at night as in the Dell, 2002, or of running away from assailants and trauma as in Running Woman, 2006, or walking up that hill with the aid of a walker wheels stuck in the mud during a horrifying storm of Woman in Mud, 2007 ¾ defines them in the momentary preoccupation we view them in,  set against their realities actual or self realized or imagined. By craniv boyd

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