★ (2017)

[aka Stern, translated as Star]
Director: Johann Lurf
Part of: Diagonale
Seen on: 14.3.2018

Movies have always looked to and at the stars, the sky, at the universe itself. Lurf collected all these images from the beginning of film to movies right now into one 102 minute supercut, exploring how we look at and relate to the stars.

I liked the idea of ★, but the resulting film fell a little flat for me. I felt that the stars were disenchanted by the sheer mass of images and I would have wished that the film contributed to the magic they exude instead.

Being an experimental film, ★ does ask unusual things of its audience. There is no narrative, just a collection of scenes in more or less chronological order from various films that show the stars. How long that works for you will absolutely vary. Personally I found that the 100 minutes the film takes is too long. Admittedly, I fell asleep a couple of times, but it doesn’t feel like it matters much with this movie.

The film being what it is, I’d say that it would be the perfect film to show in a museum where it can run in a loop and people can walk in and out of it as they please. To sit through the entire length of the film is a bit much.

But one thing becomes absolutely clear: stars are practically everywhere and in every film. We, as cinematic humanity, seem obsessed with the stars. But with the mass of images from the mass of films flooding us in ★, this realization becomes less wonder-ful in the literal sense. At the end of the film I thought I might never look at stars at something beautiful again, but see them just as something pedestrian. And I think that take-away really is a pity.

What I enjoyed most about the film is that we get to see how the representation of stars changed in the 150 years of cinematic history, how they went from the symbolic star-shape to white pinpricks on black background to allowing for colors and nebulas to join the universe. But maybe 10 minutes would have been enough.

Summarizing: Not uninteresting but needs a different setting than a normal cinema screening.

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