A MESSENGER FROM THE SHADOWS (NOTES ON FILM 06 A/MONOLOGUE 01)
Norbert Pfaffenbichler, Austria, 2013, DCP, 60′
Double Bill: 2551.01 + A Messenger from the Shadows (Notes on Film 06 A/Monologue 01)
Screening followed by a talk with director Norbert Pfaffenbichler, moderated by Austrian film critic and curator Christoph Huber.
Screen legend and icon of silent horror cinema, Lon Chaney (1893-1930), earned his nickname “The Man of a Thousand Faces” for his otherworldly ability to transform and incarnate countless characters. From Quasimodo to The Phantom of the Opera and ten collaborations with director Tod Browning, Chaney appeared in over 150 films. Pfaffenbichler masterfully re-edits parts of the 46 films which have survived to create a surreal tribute to Lon Chaney’s acting and the lonely horror landscapes he once populated, in which he now resurrects as “The Ghost of a Thousand Faces”.
“Atmospheric nightmare piece about the prisoners of a shadow realm, damned to eternal life through the light of the projector’s beam. The horror film as a refuge of loneliness, intensified in a tragicomic way through the way it is worked out: Lon Chaney does everything alone – battles, conspiracies, the persistent observation, and the conveyed message, all of the deadly (insane-) deeds, ridiculous love stories, and perverse intrigues. Auto-anatomy of a genre: absurd reduction and prismatic multiplication – one person, but the persona multiply fragmented.”
– Christoph Huber