Alternate Cinema | 2017 | 99 minutes

Johann Lurf has made a film that can be watched only while one is stoned. It’s a 99-minute journey through 110 years of starry skies in cinema. We see shot after shot after shot of stars and more stars. The film will not easily grip a mind that is sober, and will certainly lose one that is drunk. But a mind that is totally baked will be filled with that feeling Walt Whitman once described as the awe of the all. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

SIFF Says:

In the cinematic universe, a starry sky is something to stare at while dreaming of being somewhere else. According to Jiminy Cricket, when you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are, anything your heart desires will come to you. It’s no wonder that soon after the birth of cinema, filmmakers were trying to capture the night sky. The thing is, stars don’t photograph all that well, so most of the images that contain them are animated in some way or another. For ★, structural filmmaker Johann Lurf collected all the filmed images of starscapes he could find from high quality sources and assembled them in chronological order, rejecting the clips that had trees or people or spaceships or text. The result is a hypnotic journey through film history starting in 1905 and going all the way through 2017. The earliest clips are silent, of course, but as we travel through time (and space) we see the advances of the cinematic form as the images expand, gain color, and hand-drawn animation becomes computer generated. He also keeps the sound from the clips, which go from silent to mono to stereo to surround sound, and start and stop in random spots, blaring music or narration or nothing at all. It’s a supercut of starry skies that’s perfect for the dreamer in all of us.

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Film Credits
Johann Lurf
SIFF 2018