Online catalogue / Michael Palm :

AT / 2018
30 min.

Two polish workers demolish an imposing technical facility that takes up several rooms in the basement of a film and video company in Vienna. It includes a filtration facility that had been dedicated to reuse a chemical called tetrachloroethylene. This fluid solvent, known as Perchlor for short, was used in such film processing laboratories to touch up scratches and emulsive dents found in film footage.

The filmmaker Michael Palm captures the entire manual demolition process using a calm, handheld camera: Pipes and cables are severed, toxic chemicals vacuumed away, tanks are sawn apart, metal pieces dragged off, etc. The workers use their bare hands and all kinds of tools in their battle against the stubborn idiosyncrasies of objects – wildly hammering, sawing and grindering to the point that sparks fly. The exhausting work of demolishing the filtration system largely takes place in wordless silence, interrupted only by the occasional "Kurva!" ("Shit!") or "This is a killer!" The film concludes when all kinds of metal pieces belonging to the facility are hoisted into a truck parked in the courtyard.

Michael Palm herewith documents the concrete physical effects of the epoch-making medial turning point currently facing us. Analog film has long since been rendered obsolete in the commercial sector, and vast quantities of technical machinery has been relegated to the garbage heap. What was recently a valuable and effective tool has turned into scrap metal overnight. Palm stays strictly documentary and forgoes formal devices like special editing effects, music or off-screen commentary. The camera remains close to the action and simultaneously merciless in regard to the people and machines. All that remains is to document the demise [disappearance]. (Norbert Pfaffenbichler)

Translation: Eve Heller

I must also give a "special mention" to a non-experimental picture from the Documentary Shorts program. Demontage by Michael Palm is an offshoot of the director´s 2016 documentary feature Cinema Futures, and mainly consists of two Polish arbeiters laboriously dismantling a filtration system at a freshly-shuttered Vienna film-development facility in late 2015. An observational, hand-held fly-on-the-wall chronicle of men at work, disarming in its directness and unpretentious simplicity, it eloquently spoke the universal language of hard graft.

Neil Young, Hot Graz: The Top 10 New Avant-Garde Shorts at Diagonale, MUBI

A film by:
- Michael Palm

- Documentary

original language:
- german/polish

Available Prints:
- DCP 2K

price: 120,00 EUR


rental conditions

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