In The Beginning Was The Eye

a film by Bady Minck

Im Anfang war der Blick
DOCUMENTARY | 2003 | Austria, Luxembourg | 45 min | Deutsch | Color | 35mm | 1:1,66

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  • Biography
With its 45 minutes of abundant avant-garde research, In the Beginning was the Eye is the figurehead of the Director's Fortnight in Cannes 2003. It took five years to produce this cinematic UFO essentially made up of hundreds of postcards. At times a dreamlike vision, at times political, philosophical and even culinary, the film is technically perfect. The stunning sound and visuals and the hypnotic editing ensure that you don't get bored for a second.... Martin Granica, Repérages, Paris Imagine a portrait of Austria created by Jan Svankmajer and David Lynch: This will give you an idea of Bady Minck's fantastic film work entitled In the Beginning was the Eye. When a writer investigates Austria through the image presented by postcards, the landscapes around Erzberg and Salzburg province become something between a dream and a nightmare. And the words on the back of the cards seep into the scene as whispers. These are terrible and painful texts, written by unknown hands over the course of time. Tension develops between picture and text, culture and landscape... Hans Schifferle, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Munich Bady Minck re-evaluates irreverent worlds of images in the form of thousands of postcards whose ardently kitschy views of Austria are re-animated by the avant-garde filmmaker. Her cinematic narrative of a poet’s search for images provides the framework for a critical reconquest of an idyllic Alpine landscape. Using breathtaking montage work and elaborate film technology, Bady Minck penetrates deep into the sultry colour of the postcards without succumbing to their camped-up charms. Daniel Kothenschulte, Frankfurter Rundschau The masterpiece of this year´s Quinzaine des Réalisateurs in Cannes was undoubtedly Bady Minck´s In the Beginning was the Eye. The film starts by gazing out of an eyelid, which opens and closes, turning us into voyeurs, ready to manipulate objects and facts. What follows is a very interesting work of remembering. Events of the past, most notably of the Nazi era, discreetly emerge from their shadows. The filmmaker covers the tracks: we don´t know if it´s the poet who remembers, the texts on the postcards are being read out loud or if the director herself is commenting on the past. Neutral images and ideas of "home" are interwoven with suppressed recollections. The irony with which the film deals with stereotypes is reminiscent of the films of Syberberg and his way of playing with clichés. We will surely hear from Bady Minck again! Raphaël Bassan, Bref, Paris In Minck’s race of word against image, the image is the obvious winner: Single frame shots, dissolves and language employed as a musical element in a fast-paced composition of words and images are combined to create a film which goes against conventions and expectations. In the Beginning Was the Eye is a film about story-telling and remembering, the volatility of language and images, and about the tricks played on us by our senses - shortly, a philosophical consideration of reproduction and reality, identity, nature and civilization. Irmgard Schmidmaier, d’Land, Luxembourg The most subtle and strange film shown at the IFDA Documentary Festival Amsterdam tells the tale of a poet who is pondering the eternal questions of origin and meaning like a modern Faust. Just like the picture postcards the film has two sides: behind the idealised image on the front hides a "Heil Hitler" while voices whisper to us stories from a different kind of Austria. Dana Linssen, NRC Handelsblad, Amsterdam Imagine Jean Pierre Jeunet´s universe as we know it from "Delicatessen" and "The Fabulous Destiny of Amelie Poulain", paired with Røyksopp´s videoclip "Apple" that´s made up entirely of postcards – then you get an idea of what a fantastic visual experience Bady Minck´s film has turned out to be. A film that transcends all traditional genres: short film, experimental film, animation, documentary - none of these words is a sufficient description. A frenetic phantasy with roots in reality, or as critic Marc Ries has put it, a complex oeuvre located between archaeology and hedonism. In the Beginning was the Eye is a film about vision and different ways of seeing and looking at things. The poet Bodo Hell tries to break out of his world of words and into the Austrian alpine landscape as it is represented on tourist-friendly postcards. But as we get to see more and more images of mountains and alpine scenery, this landscape starts to seem concurrently more and less real. Norwegian Film Institute, Cinematheque, Oslo Bady Minck's avant-garde film breaks through the conservative norms of documentary filmmaking. The film reexamines a world of banal images on thousands of landscape postcards that depict the Austrian Alps and the Salzburg province. A film that surprises both the eye and the mind at every turn - it's about memory, language and the senses that deceive us. In the Beginning was the Eye is the "Alice Through the Looking Glass" of documentary avant-garde films, which will leave you overwhelmed. Doc Aviv - Tel Aviv Documentary Film Festival In the beginning was the word, it says in the Bible. Filmmaker Bady Minck does not believe this. She has made a beautiful work about the tension between two forces in Film: the word and the image. Themes run through the film about the relationship between man with nature, between appearance and reality. Cinematographically, and with style, this unconventional, alienating film is astonishing. Peter Wintonnick, IDFA - International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam In the Beginning was the Eye is a work too strange and beautiful to be explained in words. Bady Minck's film of brilliant spirals and frames leaves us tumbling. To the last frame, it teaches us something very important: wonder at the mechanics and magic of images. The 20th Annual Olympia Film Festival Washington In the Beginning was the Eye is a film about narration and remembering, about the volatility of language and image and the tricks our sensual perception plays on us. Lurid postcards and filmed images of the exact locations are melded and morphed into one another until it becomes impossible to determine reality from brightly rendered tourist trap. Digital technology is employed to blur the lines and create impossible movements and transformations. Multiple exposures, time-lapse and slow motion assume an anomalous role that functions in ways completely contrary to standardised expectations and habits of seeing. Taking the rigidity of postcard motifs as a starting point, the film engages in a programme of revitalisation, a re-animation that fills static people and things with life. Melbourne International Film Festival Unclassifiable. No other adjective fits this little and delicious essay on Alpine landscapes and tourists that rest thereabout from the year's commotion. Bady Minck works with disposable material - old pictures and postcards - and builds with it a monument to touristic kitsch, using all digital technology available as if it were a rejuvenating system for memories. The result is hypnotic and absurdly beautiful, at the same time as it reveals to us that towns and cities also have a soul. Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Films Using the most delicious ingredient, old post cards, this film concocts something beautiful that brings a new flavor to a historical subject. There is a place for creative historical documentaries, isn't there?! INPUT 2005 Festival, San Francisco A film that makes us question the way in which we view cinema, art and life. It ponders the idea of time in relation to the film image - are the images dead or do they have a special life? In the Beginning was the Eye is a boldly experimental vision that examines our relationship with culture and image, taking us on a thoughtful journey that never fails to amaze or inform. Leeds International Film Festival The camera acts as a winking eye spying into a poet’s workroom. Books are stacked to the ceiling, and the poet moves agilely between typewriters and shelves, leafs through books or, like Alice, enters a looking-glass. Bodo Hell cuts a restless figure, a man of the word setting off on a journey into the images or behind them. Dominated by its artificial gaze from the very beginning, this film becomes even more technically complex in its middle: In a rhythmic montage, innumerable postcard motifs rain down upon the viewer, which the protagonist then enters as if they were real landscapes. Dominik Kamalzadeh, Der Standard, Vienna In the Beginning was the Eye creates a typology of movement which talks from the very "heart" of the cinema - multiple exposures, single frame techniques, time-lapse and slow motion have assumed an anomalous role, that functions in ways completely contrary to standardized expectations and habits of seeing. Bodo Hell, as a kind of "deus ex cathedra" or hovering spirit, makes the things and texts from his books move, animates them and gives them a soul, becoming the demiurge of a journey through unaccustomed topography. Bady Minck stages something that can almost be called the aura of the landscape and city, leading thousands of postcards in a rhythmic dance that simultaneously de-codes and amuses. Starting out from the rigidity of the postcard motives, the film engages in a programme of revitalization, a re-animation that fills the people and things with life. The present is, so to say, played into the cards. The skillful dissolves function as a re-calibration of what is regarded as real and what is "spectral". The principle of filmic movement is changed by remarkable images which have never been seen before and by new applications (not one single shot of the film is "real" i.e. subject to the conventional 24 frames per second). The narrative of movement and change expands in a new direction into a complex oeuvre located between archaeology and hedonism. Marc Ries, Wien, Luxembourg A poet, locked into his den, in a cocoon of books and leaves, left at the mercy of words whispering to him from out of nowhere, or somewhere. On the empty pages of a book a mountain formation forms, prompting the poet and ourselves to embark on a journey through landscapes, landscapes whose history is revealed to be a bizarre layered object consisting of numerous postcard pictures superimposed on each other. Bodo Hell, the visual traveller, becomes part of this breathtakingly precise spatial composition, becomes a picture on a postcard and thereby the object of observation for the viewer's eye, the eye that Bady Minck navigates through the artificial "naturalness" of arranged Austrian landscapes in a virtuoso way. At the end of the journey the poet stays behind as his own (photographic) representation, two-dimensional, and helplessly at the mercy of a nature that, being a "matter of view", radically evades him... Robert Buchschwenter, Vienna Once more we are dealing with surrealism mady by Austrian filmproduction Amour Fou. This time, instead of a Frenchman, the director and writer is a woman from Luxembourg. Her name is Bady Minck and her work is situated on the borderline of film art and other art forms. Imagine a portrait of Austria created by Jan Svankmajer and David Lynch, inspired by "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari". This will give you an idea of the direction Bady Minck's project is taking. This portrait of Austria is formed by the images of old postcards as the landscapes around Erzberg and Salzburg province become something between a dream and a nightmare. Bergen International Film Festival Bodo Hell struggling with the dimensions: The writer breaks out of his world of words and tries to penetrate the surface of Austrian picture postcards in order to get into the very body of the landscape. He slips into a postcard picture, wanders through a labyrinth of cliché pictures, and embarks on a high-speed race through mountains and valleys at 160 postcards per minute. At the end Bodo succeeds in imagining a landscape himself, and even in entering it; but during his leap into the body of the landscape he loses his corporeality - the poet is reduced to the flatness of a two-dimensional figure on a picture and is left at the mercy of the wild landscape.
Cast: Bodo Hell

Director: Bady MinckEditing: Frédéric Fichefet, Anne SchroederMusic: Bernhard Fleischmann, Dr. Nachtstrom, Sainkho NamtchylakSound: Carlo Thoss, Frédéric Fichefet
Production: Alexander Dumreicher-Ivanceanu
Funding: bm:bwk, Filmfund Luxembourg, BKA.kunst, ORF Innovationsfonds, bm:lf, Stadt Salzburg, Land Salzburg, Gemeinde Eisenerz, niederösterreich kultur, Stadt Wien

Il premio CinemAvvenire / Preis für das Kino der Zukunft
Internationales Festival des neuen Kinos, Pesaro 2003

Award for The Most Innovative Documentary

Roma Art Doc Fest 2005

Special Mention of the Jury
International Film Festival of Fine Arts Szolnok, Hungary 2004

Special Mention of the Jury
Trento Montagne-Esplorazione-Avventura Film Festival 2005

Top Ten Best Films 2002/2003 in Australia 
Melbourne International Film Festival 

Top Ten Best Films from Central and East Europe 2002/2003
International Art Film Festival Trencianske Teplice

Top Twenty: Best Documentaries in 2002/2003 
Warsaw Doc Review, Best of Documentary: Opening Film

Independent Film Show Napoli (14.11. - 19.11.2006)
Cinescienza Documentary Review Pisa, Italien (11.09. - 16.09.2006)

The Best of INPUT Goethe-Institut London (10.12.2005)
Dissolvenze Film Festival Gradisca, Italy Special Program "Amour Fou Pour Vous" (30.11. - 4.12.2005)
International Mountain & Adventure Film Festival Graz, Austria
 (10.11. - 12.11.2005)
The Best of INPUT Porto Alegre, Brazil (13.10. - 16.10.2005)

Kurzfilmbiennale, Ludwigsburg Special Program "Amour Fou Pour Vous" (12.9. - 18.9.2005)
Dokufest - International Documentary & Short Film Festival, Prizren, Kosovo (31.8. - 4.9.2005)
Io, Isabella International Film Week, Valsinni, Italy Eröffnungsfilm (25.8. - 31.8.2005) 
Cadore Doc Festival, Pieve di Cadore, Italy Retrospective Bady Minck (1.8. - 7.8.2005) 
Roma Art Doc Fest International Competition "New Languages" (28.5. - 5.6.2005)
INPUT 2005 San Francisco International Selection (1. - 6.5.2005) 
Trento International Film Festival of Mountains & Exploration (30.4. - 6.5.2005)
Moving Patterns New Electronic Music Festival, New York (26.4. - 30.4.2005) 
Festival Eurocine Cine Europeo, Bogota, Columbia (29.3. - 7.4.2005) 
Campo Konex - Festival Interdisciplinario di Cinematográfica, Buenos Aires (18. - 20.2.2005) Programma de Bady Minck
Fly by Light - Road Cinema Festival, Chiang Mai, Lamphun etc. Thailand (17.2. - 7.7.2005)
Un autre cinéma autrichien, Institut Jean Vigo, Perpignan (9. - 10.2.2005)
Int. Festival & Conference "Landscaping Action", Bordeaux (1. - 4.12.2004)
Ciné de Vanguardia en Austria, Le Enana Marrón, Madrid (25.11. - 19.12.2004)

International Sasà Award Catania Roma
 (25. - 29.11.2004)
International Festival Rencontres Vidéo Art Plastique Basse-Normandie (25. -28.11.2004)
Les Instants Vidéo Nomades Festival (17. - 21.11.2004)
DIAGONALE On Tour Kapfenberg | Salzburg | Wels (03. - 09.11.2004) 
Holland Animation Film Festival Utrecht (3. - 7.11.2004) Retrospective Bady Minck
Asolo Art Film Festival, Asolo, Italy (25. - 31.10.2004) 
Festival Int. du court métrage de la Grande Région France, Belgique & Luxembourg,(15. - 17.10.2004) 
Starz Denver International Film Festival (14. - 24.10.2004) 
Semaine des cultures étrangères, Cinéma Le Balzac, Paris (27.9. - 3.10.2004)
International Film Festival of Fine Arts Szolnok, Hungary (16. - 21.9.2004)
Festival des Heimatfilms, Sommerakademie Spital am Pyhrn (19. - 20.8.2004)
Fabrica Audiovisual Festival, Buenos Aires University (4. - 8.8.2004)
Europafestival Drosendorf "on the road.still" (1. - 4.7.2004) 
Medienforum Freiburg, Kino Avantgarde (22. - 27.6.2004) 
CineVegas Film Festival Las Vegas (11. - 19.6.2004)
Cinéfleuve Festival Saarbrucken-Trier-Nancy-Metz-Namur (10. - 18.6.2004)
Semaine du cinéma autrichien, Cinéma des cinéastes, Paris (9. - 15.6.2004)
Warsaw Doc Review, Best of Documentary: Opening Film (14. - 28.5.2004) 
COURTisane International Festival Ghent (30.4. - 2.5.2004) 
Buenos Aires Festival Int. de Cine Independiente (15. - 25.4.2004) Masterclass
Internationales Trickfilm-Festival Stuttgart (1. - 6.4.2004) 
European Documentary Film Festival Oslo (29.3. - 4.4.2004) 

Doc Aviv - Tel Aviv Doc Film Festival (25.3. - 3.4.2004)
Women in the Director's Chair International Film Festival Chicago (17. - 21.3.2004)
Ann Arbor Film Festival U.S.A. (16. - 21.3.2004)
Festival Némo, Forum des Images Paris (9. - 14.3.2004) Retrospective Bady Minck
Semana cultural de Austria en Valladolid (23. - 26.2.2004) 
Internationales Filmwochenende Würzburg (22. - 25.1.2004)
Circulo de Bellas Artes - Museo Reina Sofia Madrid (22.12.2003) 
Semarang International Film Festival Java Indonesia (11. - 14.12.2003)
Festival du Film Autrichien, Cinéma La Pagode Paris (10. - 17.12.2003)

AniMadrid (8. - 14.12.2003)
Sitges Festival Internacional (27.11. - 7.12.2003)

VIPER Basel Internationales Medienkunstfestival (21. - 25.11.2003)
IFDA Int. Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam (20. - 30.11.2003) Masterclass
Female Eye Film Festival Toronto (20. - 23.11.2003)
Semana Cine Experimental Madrid (14. - 21.11.2003)
Kassel Documentary Film Festival (11. - 16.11.2003)
Ourense Internacional Independent Film Festival (8. - 15.11.2003)
Olympia Film Festival Washington (7. - 16.11.2003)
São Paulo International Film Festival (17. - 30.10.2003)
Bergen International Film Festival (16. - 22.10.2003)
Festival Der neue Heimatfilm, Radstadt (10. - 12.10.2003) 
Montréal Festival international du Nouveau Cinéma (9. - 19.10.2003)
dokumentART neubrandenburg (7. - 12.10.2003)
Semaine du Film Luxembourgeois, Utopia Luxembourg (3. - 10.10.2003)
Leeds International Film Festival (2. - 12.10.2003)
Cinéma au Féminin Bordeaux (22. - 28.9.2003)
CinemaTexas Austin (16. - 21.9.2003)
Athen International Film Festival (12. - 21.9.2003)
ars electronica Linz (6. - 11.9.2003)
Festival des Neuen Heimatfilms Freistadt (27. - 31.8.2003)
Brisbane International Film Festival (29.7. - 16.8.2003)
Melbourne International Film Festival (23.7. - 10.8.2003)
Jerusalem International Film Festival (July 2003)
Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (4. - 12.7.2003)
Festival Internacional de Vila do Conde (29.6. - 6.7.2003)
Pesaro Film Festival (20. - 28.6.2003)
International Art Film Festival Trencianske Teplice (20. - 28.6.2003)
Les meilleurs courts de Cannes à Paris, Sélection Répérages (5. - 8.6.2003)

Festival de Cannes 2003, Quinzaine des Réalisateurs (14. - 25.5.2003)
Diagonale - Festival des österreichischen Films, Graz (24. - 30.3.2003)
Viennale - Vienna International Filmfestival (Avant-Premiere)

bady minck born in luxembourg, she works as an artist and filmmaker in vienna and luxembourg, where she explores the field of tension between film and the fine arts. she studied sculpture at vienna's academy of fine arts and experimental film at the university of applied arts. her work crosses the borders between the various artistic disciplines and is presented in movie theaters, at film festivals, in museums, galleries, public spaces and on the world wide web. bady minck is the creator of electro-breakfast, the constructor of the electro-cells and the inventor of the stomach literacy actions. her intervention-art includes graffiti, performance, eat-art and mail-art in the early eighties, objects, installations, net-art, political intervention-art and art-to-science-transfer. she is founding member of amour fou film vienna and minotaurus filmluxembourg, where she produces films such as matthias müller's nebel and virgil widrich's fast film. her films have been presented in retrospectives and invited to more than 300 international film festivals, including cannes (semaine de la critique 1989, quinzaine des réalisateurs 2003), amsterdam idfa, ann arbor, annecy, berlinale, bilbao, buenos aires, cairo, cardiff, chicago, cracow, edinburgh, fukuoka, huesca, istanbul, jerusalem, johannisbourg, karlovy vary, las vegas, locarno, london, los angeles, madrid, melbourne, montreal, new york, osaka, oslo, pesaro, philadelphia, rotterdam, são paulo, san francisco, semarang, seoul, singapur, sydney, tel aviv, tokyo, toronto, warsaw. her films have received awards and special mentions in pesaro, saarbrücken, frankfurt, bordeaux, trento, szolnok, graz, vienna, rome, london and new york. in the beginning was the eye was selected for the top ten best films of east and central europe in trencianske teplice as well as for the top ten best films 2003 in melbourne, australia. her films have been purchased for various collections, including the collections of the centre pompidou, paris; the university of kentucky, lexington; the cinémathèque de luxembourg; the roland collection, london; the new york filmmakers coop; the fine art collection, university of florida and the rockefeller library at brown university, providence. her artworks and films have been exhibited at the musée d'art moderne at centre pompidou, paris; at the expo '98 in lisboa; at the museum of fine arts in houston; at the centre d'art contemporain fribourg; at the kunsthalle wien; at the landesmuseum linz; at the modern arts center budapest; at the galerie zacheta warsaw; at the fabrica audiovisual in buenos aires; at the casino - forum d'art contemporain luxembourg; at batofar in paris; at the arts centre plymouth; at the pacific film archives san francisco; etc. as a curator she has put together film programs for the academy of arts in berlin; bogazici university in istanbul; independent film show napoli; cinémathèque luxembourg; filmcasino wien; film festival fantoche, switzerland; batofar paris; soundart festival hannover and son ambiente festival berlin. in 2003 she curated the special program reisation at the international short film festival oberhausen. she has been teaching art and film as visiting professor at universities and academies of art in several countries, including the bogacici university istanbul, fachhochschule joanneum graz, università di udine, donau-universität krems, kunstuniversität linz, academy of fine arts munich, université de luxembourg and shake academy cologne & luxembourg. she has been giving lectures and holding workshops at festivals and symposia in several countries.

© Minotaurus Film (Luxembourg), Oikodrom (Wien), Garabet Film (Wien), Amour Fou Filmproduktion