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Mathes, B. (2012). Making Time. DIVISION/Rev., 5:42-45.

(2012). DIVISION/Review, 5:42-45


Making Time

Review by:
Bettina Mathes, Ph.D.

In a city under siege, time (not space) is the enemy. If I had only one sentence to describe my experience of watching Šejla Kamerić and Anri Sala's collaborative project 1395 Days Without Red, this would be it: In a city under siege, time (not space) is the enemy.

The city is Sarajevo, the time are the 1,395 days that the Serbian army terrorized the besieged citizens from the surrounding mountains. An invisible enemy, lying in wait. Sala and Kamerić created, developed, and shot their project together but made two separate films edited from the same footage. Both films evoke the terror and devastation brought about by the siege without showing it. No images of wounded or dead bodies, bomb craters, or demolished buildings are given. Instead, we follow a young woman on her solitary journey across town. What we cannot see (but some of us remember having seen) is more important than what is presented to us on the screen. In this mental cityscape (where people don't do what people normally do in films: speak), sound functions as a time machine that gives both films their distinct tempo, temperament, and temporality, creating a temporal space at odds with itself. Often we hear one thing-sections from Tschaikovsky's Pathetique, for example-and see another-a woman walking on the street, people waiting at a corner; and when we see what we hear-the Sarajevo Symphony Orchestra rehearsing-the image says just that: this is what a rehearsal looks like. The disconnect between the visual (space) and the aural (time) and the lack of speech and narrative make us wonder what it means to be in the world with others.

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