Strange Love

Idylls that hold some irritation in store: Richard Wilhelmer´s Strange Love (produced at the California Institute of the Arts) shows them to us, implying our agreement that seeing irritations in all idyllic views is now normal. Gloomy idylls have come to represent familiar, popular and easily comprehended idyllic scenes. You can never tell, even more so.
A golf course glows in black and white and the evening sun; a siren wails; the camera pans to the sky. At that moment a single jet appears in the frame, seemingly a coincidence at first. Then, when the sky fills with them, the situation becomes clear: It´s war. To be precise, a scene of war. This is made even clearer when closeups of all the B-52 bombers are shown in a scene probably taken from the classic film that the title and lettering style refer to. Everything´s familiar, but: A Stealth bomber´s flying in the center of this all too idyllic formation of jets, a model that didn´t exist in the days of Kubrick´s Dr. Strangelove.
The scene looks as if it were made by Kubrick, the song about "fact, fiction, contradiction" could be Klaus Nomi´s. The voiceover doesn´t sound like it, but it´s James Benning (a filmmaker who dealt with skies, landscapes and everyday irritations). "I love you like I love the bomb," he says: Two young Yanks, a man and a woman, fuck as bombs fall on hills in the background.
Kubrick´s view of the relationship between technology and sex was the other way around: I love the bomb like I love you. Yesterday´s "strange love" is the idyll of today. And Strange Love meets this with the strangely normal love known as nostalgia/cinephilia, in self-annulment mode. Sex with the technology of death, rune of peace, mushroom-cloud apocalypse: The Cold War´s visual culture points to our present day. All war tends to be a well-tempered police action now. And the US Air Force bombs America.
(Drehli Robnik)
Translation: Steve Wilder

Orig. Title
Strange Love
Austria, USA
5 min
Short film
Orig. Language
Strange Love (Image)
Strange Love (Image)
Strange Love (Image)
Richard Wilhelmer
Richard Wilhelmer
Mark Levine
Richard Wilhelmer
Richard Wilhelmer
Sound Design
Sebastian Menge
Chingya Wang
Sound Mix
Sebastian Menge
Image Editing
Philipp Edner
Cody Chappel, Melodie Mousset
James Benning
Daniella Anastassiou
Executive Producer
California Institute of the Arts
Available Formats
Digital File (prores, h264) (Distribution Copy)
Aspect Ratio
Sound Format
Color Format
Festivals (Selection)
Graz - Diagonale, Festival des Österreichischen Films
Wroclaw - WRO-International Media Art Biennale
Sao Paolo - Short Film Festival
Split - Festival of New Film and Video
Utrecht - Impakt Festival
Wiesbaden - exground on screen
Montréal - Festival du Nouveau Cinéma
Istanbul - Int. Short Film Festival
Bukarest - NexT International Short Film Festival
Limassol - Cyrus Int. Short Film Festival
Lima - Peru Int. Short Film Festival
Stuttgart - Filmwinter, Expanded Media Festival