body trail

Walter Benjamin once remarked about photographer Eugène Atget that his pictures of an empty fin de siècle Paris looked like crime scenes. body trail, an eight-minute black-and-white documentary chronicling an outdoor performance of Willi Dorner and Michael Palm, plays with this eeriness produced by long static shots of empty building entrances, billboards that have been torn down, parks at night and desolate telephone booths. There is no trace of bodies at first. But then, a leg suddenly protrudes from a phone booth, clusters of human bodies tumble in front of shuttered storefronts like piles of garbage, bodies pile up next to archways, apparently lifeless figures lie facedown in front of garages. At first the disordered bodies suggest victims of urban terrorism. In fast intercuts people run through Vienna at night, their faces captured in freeze frames as if a surveillance camera were on the hunt. But what seems to be a city as a crime scene at night turns out to be a tableau created by choreographer Willi Dorner, who adds to the urban space a group of dancers as human sculptures. The tangled knots suddenly form orderly stacks, or the body parts come together, forming wholes. Then the artists lie on the sidewalk in neat rows, cowering together like silver spoons in a silverware drawer. Dorner´s many-layered urban intervention alternates between surreal humor and dark visions of terrorist acts. On the other hand, its dynamic filmic clarity is a result of the sharp editing and atmospherically precise sound created by Michael Palm.

(Alexandra Seibel)

The body as tool for experiencing spatial dimensions. Body sculptures, which change and adapt to the environment, create new perspectives and insights into architecture and the city - a conceptual filling of empty urban spaces. The experimental short film body trail is based on an outdoor performance which took place in Vienna in October 2007.

(production note)

Orig. Title
body trail
8 min
dance film/video
Orig. Language
No Dialogue
body trail (Image)
body trail (Image)
body trail (Image)
Michael Palm, Willi Dorner
Johannes Hammel, Martin Putz
Hjalti Bager-Jonathansson
Michael Palm
Sound Design
Michael Palm
Supported by
Innovative Film Austria
Available Formats
Digital File (prores, h264)
Festivals (Selection)
Dallas - Video Festival
Graz - Diagonale, Festival des österreichischen Films
Amsterdam - IDFA, Int. Documentary Filmfestival
Wien - VIS Vienna Independent Shorts
Aix-en-Provence - Festival Tous Courts
Dresden - Filmfest
Linz - Crossing Europe Film Festival
Oslo - Eurodoc Documentary Film Festival
Miami - Film Festival
Istanbul - Int. Short Film Festival
Victoria - Antimatter Underground Film Festival
Basel - Clair-obscur Filmfestival
Kassel Dokumentarfilm & Videofestival
Milano Aiace - Invideo
Zürich - VIDEOEXperimental
Hamburg - Int. Kurzfilm-Festival & No Budget
Szolnok - Intern. Festival for Fine Arts
Kiew - Molodist Int. Film Festival
Tampere - Film Festival
Regensburg - Kurzfilmwoche
Athens - Film Festival
Oslo - Screen Festival
Weimar - back-up festival. new media in film
Stuttgart - Int. Trickfilm-Festival
Kiev - New Visions Int. Film Festival
Wien - sound:frame international festival
Split - Festival of New Film and Video