CA 1997 28'
BALIFILM was originally commissioned as a stage performance, created from diary images and sounds collected in 1990 and 1992 by Peter Mettler on the island of Bali. The soundtrack is a live recording of eight Gamelan musicians playing the bronze and wooden instruments of Indonesia during the projection of the film. BALIFILM is a personal, lyrical observation and expression of the creative pulse of an extraordinary culture.
"bali 1990, 1992. Setting the film so precisely in time may seems surprising. For what it shows belongs to the eternal dialogue between the visible and the invisible, the audible and the inaudible, the temporal and the timeless. In other words, to the scintillating to-ing and fro-ing of the intangible, to the perpetual motion of that which escapes from every attempt to pin it down even photographically. It amounts to a simple dance the highpoint of a solemn religious celebration, the preparations for which are recorded by the filmmaker's camera under an open sky. Without comment, unless one counts the music (composed elsewhere), which is both empathic making use of the island's traditional instruments and remote, and which composes a haunting and repetitive incantation, slightly out of synch with the images. It is a dance, then, but a dance between shape and light, body and soul, the earthly and the celestial, the human and the divine. Nature, crops and then the elements are summoned before giving way to the ceremony proper. On temple friezes, gods and goddesses abandon themselves to their symbolic dances. Men and women follow likewise. The shapes of the stones give substance to the flesh of bodies which are sublimated into pure mechanical movement and grace. The struggles or the stylised embraces between beings become one and the same. Eurhythmics. The film has no pretensions to didacticism, or evenethnology. What interests Peter Mettler is the interplay betwee nlines, the potential time-lags, the pauses, slow-motions and slight jerkiness that the editing inserts to hypnotising effect. And then, at the height of the celebration, amidst the offerings and thesolemn processions, the camera seizes upon a face, and then another. The face of a young woman, smiling, standing outside the action, the face of a tourist, camera in hand. Finally, serene nature reappears to reclaim its rightful place. Thus the film is doubly structured: on the one hand through a great unity in its progression the preparations for the briefly presented ceremony and on the other through these evocative little slips which gradually enable the film to escape the precise time of the here and now. Hence the film in turn becomes offering and donation, the link between being and its transcendence."
Visions du Réel Nyon