Accompanied by fragile sounds a few flocks of clouds hurry over the peaks of the Dachstein mountain range. Behind windows at solitary mountain stations, lights blink like Morse code. Gondolas flit past as if in flight. Thick blankets of fog envelop cliffs. A windmill spins. Here and there human figures appear, resembling phantoms in the snowy white. The moon climbs in the sky, glows, falls, disappears, then rises again.

Elke Groen´s NightStill, just under nine minutes long, is a filmic survey of the Dachstein region in Austria´s Alps. However it has nothing in common with a documentary record, serving as a confrontation between the givens (a landscape, artifacts and living beings; the sky, weather and the light) and a film technique which has always possessed the ability to alienate.

With the exception of a Webcam sequence, the special effects were created with the camera, an "old spring-wound Bolex". Over two winters, always at night and before, during and after a full moon, the filmmaker roamed the Dachstein region with it. Each frame was exposed for 30 seconds, resulting in 12 minutes per second of film and 12 hours of real time for every minute of film in this work.
In this careful condensation the rock massif seems doubly static, movements and the play of light take on even more dynamism and fleetingness. Night turns into day, and the moon resembles the winter sun as it hangs over slopes deeply buried in snow. Delicate showers of stars fall from the azure heavens. Man stands surrounded by it all, shaking his head in delighted awe.

(Isabella Reicher)

Translation: Steve Wilder

After making films about Ex-Yugoslavia, Romania and China I wanted to shoot a film at home.
Nightstill is an ode to my homeland.

(Elke Groen)

go to homepage of Elke Groen

More Texts

Trento Film Festival 2008

Nightstill è stato filmato nel corso di due inverni sulle montagne del Dachstein. Mentre la massa della montagna appare statica, i movimenti degli elementi naturali e umani guadagnano ulteriore dinamismo. Accompagnate da suoni rotti e scomposti, le nubi vengono trascinate verso le cime. Le stelle del cielo formano sciami di scintille. Dietro i vetri delle finestre le luci si accendono e si spengono come in un alfabeto Morse. Uomini stanno in piedi nella neve come fantasmi. La luna sorge, splende, scende e sparisce dietro pareti di nebbia.
Orig. Title
9 min
Elke Groen
Orig. Language
No Dialogue
NightStill (Image)
NightStill (Image)
NightStill (Image)
Elke Groen
Dietmar Schipek
Andreas Bertram
Elke Groen
Supported by
Land Oberösterreich, Wien Kultur, BKA. Kunst
Available Formats
35 mm (Distribution Copy)
Aspect Ratio
Sound Format
Dolby Surround
Frame Rate
24 fps
Color Format
Digital File (prores, h264) (Distribution Copy)
Festivals (Selection)
Viennale - Vienna Int. Film Festival
Graz - Diagonale, Festival des Österreichischen Films
Berlin - Int. Filmfestspiele Berlinale - Wettbewerb
Amsterdam - Sonic Acts Festival
Wien - VIS Vienna Independent Shorts
Vila do Conde - Festival Internacional de Curtas-Metragens
Seoul - EXis (Experimental Film- & Videofestival)
Split - Festival of New Film and Video
Zagreb - 25fps Film & Video Festival
Milano Aiace - Invideo
Drama - International Short Film Festival
Norwich - AURORA International Animation Festival
Madrid - Semana de Cine Experimental
Cork - Int. Film Festival
Leeds - Int. FilmFestival
Istanbul - Int. Short Film Festival
Aarhus - Festival of Festivals
Montréal - Festival du Nouveau Cinéma
Bratislava - int. Film Festival
Belgrad - Balkanima Anim. Film Festival
Jihlava Documentary Film Festival (Best Experimental)
Stuttgart - Filmwinter, Expanded Media Festival
Ljubiljana Animateka - Int. Animation Film Festival
Sundance Film Festival
Berlin - Transmediale (Festival for digital art)
Ann Arbor - Film Festival
ZagrebDOX - Documentary Film Festival
St. Petersburg - Open Cinema
Villach - Int. Short Film Festival