Angst, different than fear, has no “of what,” its object is a void: THE in huge red letters, joined by the screech of a crow against a cloud-covered background. THE what? The Thing, The Ring, The Descent, The Exorcist or simply, The Wedding Planner?

Actually not. THE fails to fill the void, for thirteen minutes, at no point allows the viewer and work to come together, create a bond letting one breathe easier. The void is kept open, consistently, as a place of tension, the non-decidability, the state of development—between the abstract (Roisz’s typical quivering, shivering colored beams) and the concrete (a shutter flashes, birds’ chirping), between granite-like surfaces and fire-red abyss, between cliché-laden children’s tunes and horror films’ authentic drone sounds, floating freely in the dialectic found in Freud’s “uncanny.”

In the second part, the vague fear in the mind becomes a very concrete work of terror on the body. Here, the abstract form becomes a solid, visceral surface, which ripples and bends, shifts, and rips open. The image itself spews forth wafting masses, becomes a shadow mask, which for its part, attempts to shut them away again, begins to pulsate rhythmically, and like a body, breathe and scream. THE is an impressive work about the psychic and haptic power of the abstract experience, a reduction—and even more—a feeding back of brashly displayed bodily wounds and less subtle cheap showmanship of torture porn images into the audiovisual medial core: “The Medium is the Massage.”
(Alejandro Bachmann)

Translation: Lisa Rosenblatt

THE is an experimental movie about horror movies, containing “real” camera footage as well as digitally and analog generated images. THE has no physical human actors, but tells a clear story. The screen itself, seen as a body and membrane, gets attacked by hidden forces from outside and behind/under the “skin.” Of course “suspense” and “shock” play an important role, carried out on the visual level and in the soundtrack, which always plays an important role on horror movies at the same time.
(B.R. & D.K.)

Clouds cross the sky. A dark rumble. A crow caws. A melody. Omens hang in the air, heralding the unexpected. The work of Billy Roisz and Dieter Kovačič explores the structures and mechanisms of the terror evoked in horror film. They experiment with listening and viewing habits, transforming the screen into a fragile membrane between the viewer and that which is viewed while investigating the space between outer and inner. Surfaces revoke any attempt at correlation; grids are interchanged with stripes and dots, and with the supposedly material. The borders between abstract and concrete are suspended. Gauging space for the sake of orientation is impossible. Sometimes, the chance to understand, to orientate, flares up for a split-second – only to disappear in the next instant. Vertigo.
14 years after initiating their collaboration, directors Billy Roisz and Dieter Kovačič have now put forward another cooperative work.
(Berlin Film Festival Catalogue 2015)

more: THE

Orig. Title
13 min
Orig. Language
No Dialogue
THE (Image)
THE (Image)
THE (Image)
Billy Roisz, Dieter Kovačič
Concept & Realization
Dieter Kovačič, Billy Roisz
Billy Roisz, Phil Minton, noid, Dieter Kovačič
Sound Mastering
Martin Siewert
Sound Assembling
Dieter Kovačič
Supported by
Wien Kultur, Innovative Film Austria
Available Formats
DCP 2K flat (Distribution Copy)
Aspect Ratio
Sound Format
Dolby 5.1.
Frame Rate
25 fps
Color Format
Digital File (prores, h264)
Festivals (Selection)
Berlin - Int. Filmfestspiele Berlinale - Wettbewerb
Graz - Diagonale, Festival des österreichischen Films
Wien - VIS Vienna Independent Shorts
Grimstadt - Kortfilmfestivalen
Karlovy Vary - Int. Film Festival
Santiago de Compostela - Curtocircuito
Montréal - Festival du Nouveau Cinéma
Cork - Int. Film Festival
Kassel - Dokumentarfilm- & Videofest
Nijmegen - Go Short Film Festival
Wien - Tricky Women / Animationsfilmfestival (Special Mention of the jury)
Busan - Intern Short Film Festival
Cambrige/MIT - re|vision Experimental Film Festival