TV Films by Alexander Kluge | Chicago Reader

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American TV watchers, eat your hearts out! It isn't always easy to trace the connections in these selections from “Ten to Eleven”—a series of short, experimental “essay” films made for German television by the remarkable German filmmaker Alexander Kluge—but they're the liveliest and most imaginative European TV shows I've seen since those of Ruiz and Godard. Densely constructed out of a very diverse selection of archival materials, which are manipulated (electronically and otherwise) in a number of unexpected ways, these historical meditations often suggest Max Ernst collages using the cultural flotsam of the last 100 years. I've seen four of the programs: Why Are You Crying, Antonio? relates fascism, opera, and domesticity; Antiques & Advertising historicizes ads in a number of novel ways; Madame Butterfly Waits offers a compressed history of opera and its kitschy successors in pop culture; and the self-explanatory The Eiffel Tower, King Kong, and the White Women makes use of comics, movies in the 1890s, a quote from Heidegger, and multiple images of the famous ape and tower. The first part of this program features Madame Butterfly Waits, The Eiffel Tower, King Kong, and the White Women, Antiques & Advertising, and The African Lady, or Love With a Fatal Outcome; the second includes Blue Hour Tango Time, Why Are You Crying, Antonio?, Changing Time (Quickly), and Japanclips.

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