Online catalogue / Norbert Pfaffenbichler :

Invest in Failure (Notes on Film 06 C/ Monologue 03)
Invest in Failure (Notes on Film 06 C/ Monologue 03)
AT / 2018
63 min.

An end game that spans a career and a globe (down to 20,000 miles under the sea): whereas previously, in his Monologue series devoted to the horror icons Lon Chaney and Boris Karloff Norbert Pfaffenbichler paid tribute to the actors exclusively with found-footage in which he had them interact solely with themselves, he takes a different path in his equally amusing and abysmal film study Invest in Failure. This time he covers half a century based on excerpts from the 160 works of the elegant Englishman James Mason—in contrast to Karloff and Chaney, an actor who (other than the process of aging), seems almost changeless. As a brooding romantic anti-hero, in the post-war years, Mason made the leap to become a Hollywood star, to then travel nearly all continents and genres as a co-production globetrotter from the 1960s onward.

World(class) cinema, and on top of that, condensed as a disturbingly comical tragedy: with a reliable eye for fantastically bizarre details (from a moving, skewered beetle to the baring of rape-ready underwear with a swastika) and association-rife, paradoxical montage combinations, Pfaffenbichler sends Mason as an eternal traveler through the bonfire of the vanities. His awakening from a forgetful slumber leads into a labyrinth of the screen dreams of his career; the promises of love and fantasies of death of the commercial cinema machinery as dream(trauma) interpretation, with the women opposite Mason´s characters as victim counterparts, who in exchanges of glances, confrontations, and dialogue constructions, some of which last decades, are swept up in the maelstrom of the storm of Pfaffenbichler cuts - until apocalypse descends and leaves behind only a ghostly void. "I found there is no peace […] only loneliness." (Christoph Huber)

Translation: Lisa Rosenblatt

The last part of the Monologue Trilogy condenses the
50-year acting career of British character actor James
Mason (1909–1984) into a surreal fictional story. (production note)

A film by:
- Norbert Pfaffenbichler

- experimental

original language:
- Various

Available Prints:


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more on Austrian Independent Film & Video Database:
- Credits
- Festival placements
- Texte und Bilder
- Biographie: Norbert Pfaffenbichler