Hallo Mabuse

First, a view of nature: an overcast sky, the chirping of birds. This plays the part of a colorful overture, still open to the world. Steps and the sound of a pushbutton telephone lead acoustically into one of Dietmar Brehm´s "intrusion films": Hallo Mabuse. Here, arriving at the other end of the line, intruding into the image means reversing polarity to negative and concentrating on the schematic through a type of circular aperture. A man´s profile and facial features lose their contours in the heavy light-dark contrasts, yet also emerge expressively. A dialogue of cryptic gestures unfolds.

The source: several scenic miniatures from The Testament of Dr. Mabuse, Fritz Lang´s famous crime film about hypnosis and terror created in the interwar period. Brehm already included this material once before, in a shorter version, in tape 14 of the Praxis series; now he presents it as an autonomous member of the series; decelerated, with a new editing sequence, and also additional pictorial motifs.

Hallo Mabuse captivates through its reduction, in which a conspiratorial narrative takes place, but even more so, the images themselves appear ambiguous, obscure, untrustworthy. A nod of the head, which seems treacherous in its mechanical repetition, meets the profile of a bearded man who does not appear to react at all in a suggested counter shot. The slight flickering of the image further intensifies the impression of an illicit agreement, of witnessing a crooked handshake. The ringing of the unseen telephone and the constant ticking of a clock lend the events a limited temporality. Something is running out, and in doing so, is also already reaching its end, a ghostly final act, which is anticipated by an explosion and breaks off with the sound of a falling guillotine. (Dominik Kamalzadeh)

Translation: Lisa Rosenblatt

Orig. Title
Hallo Mabuse
5 min
Dietmar Brehm
Orig. Language
No Dialogue
Hallo Mabuse (Image)
Dietmar Brehm
Dietmar Brehm
Dietmar Brehm
TMM Production
Supported by
Kultur Linz, Land Oberösterreich
Available Formats
DCP 2K flat
Aspect Ratio
Sound Format
Color Format
Digital File (prores, h264) (Distribution Copy)
Festivals (Selection)
Wroclaw - New Horizons Festival
Viennale - Vienna Int. Film Festival
Paris - Rencontres International Paris/Berlin
Lissabon - Indielisboa Int. Film and Videofestival
Nashville Film Festival