Uscita di Sicurezza (Emergency Exit)

“But one day there’ll be screaming at the harbor,” the filmmaker forcefully declaims in Sprechgesang as a wide, sunlit river landscape comes into view. Afterwards, the bodies of passersby move past the camera in slow motion, and Brecht/Weill’s ballad of “Pirate Jenny” rolls on. Uscita di Sicurezza weaves its elements together with loose precision without tying them down, just as the film as a whole incorporates all kinds of familiar elements into the fabric of  Friedl vom Gröller’s filmmaking (Brecht/Weill have already been heard in Ertrunken, while the setting brings back memories of Leonardo and Ticino), but willfully spinning on them further.

In close contact with Brecht’s visually powerful text about the scorned hotel scullery maid Jenny and her revenge fantasies, the black and white 16mm images shimmer wildly and unsteadily: First, the a cappella singing sprays its venom over idyllic river views and snapshots of tourist groups of people on a historic bridge. (Searching for the emergency exit!) Then, for most of the film, there follows a solo portrait in two passes: initially as a sequence of film shots, then as a montage of stills. Standing in front of a bakery poster in her baseball cap, Angela Crupano looks as though she was pulled out of the crowd on the bridge by the filmmaker. However, the cunning wrath of Pirate Jenny is rhymed with above all the engaging seriousness with which Crupano returns the gaze of both cameras. “And then when the heads fall, I’ll say ‘Oops!’” In between, a frontal shot of two people of color on the bridge demonstrates that even for the technical deployment of the Bolex camera, some people, to use Brecht’s words, remain in the dark: their faces become discernible only during three brief flashes when the image is flooded with light. (Joachim Schätz)

Translation: John Wojtowicz

Orig. Title
Uscita di Sicurezza
4 min
Orig. Language
Friedl vom Gröller
Concept & Realization
Friedl vom Gröller
Albert Sackl
Supported by
Bundesministerium für Kunst, Kultur, öffentlicher Dienst und Sport / Federal Ministry for Arts, Culture, the Civil Service and Sport
Angela Crupano
Brecht/ Weill
Available Formats
DCP 2K flat (Distribution Copy)
Aspect Ratio
Sound Format
Color Format