Ralf´s Colors

Ralf's Colors is an experimental portrait of a schizophrenic person living in Lanzarote (Canary islands), whom I accompanied for over 5 years. The film shows the struggle of his inner life in contrast to
the deserted volcanic surroundings. (Lukas Marxt)

"We can´t use the same light, we have to use completely new keys with completely new light and even these can be found to a limited extent," says Ralf at one point. The schizophrenic man´s words accompany much of this experimental portrait by Lukas Marxt, layered over footage of Lanzarote, where the protagonist lives in seclusion. Landscape and cinema form an amalgam here, being both interior spaces of thought and feeling, and projected images of an outside. The thinking of the film´s main character does not run along straight lines, moving instead in circles, spirals, and Möbius strips, shaping the overall structure of the film: the viewer gets lost in this space, in time, in distances, searching in vain for a position in the actual physical sense, finding it instead (and as the result of this uncertainty) in an attitude, a specific formation of thinking which — paradoxically — is permanently moving, in a "succession of changing states" (Deleuze).

Stasis in motion, ongoing but frozen, a painting in time, Rousseau and Tarkovsky, a thought that takes shape in the process of thinking. Documentary? Science-fiction? Mindfuck? It is dizzyingly hard to describe what one sees and hears, because the reality in front of the camera could also be a wholly imagined future, or pictures from a time before cinema. In this film, language, writing, pictures, and music are both understated and exuberant, emptied and too full to generate meaning in the conventional sense. As if asleep, but more awake than ever, we look at the world, Ralf´s world, in which children are "built" and lives are "written," a "half-fantasy" and a "new life" in which the weather is "recomputed," like in a movie. Cinematographic madness and a precise portrait of a human being, dancing in the wind of Lanzarote, in the night, in the stroboscopic flickering of a streetlamp, in a completely new light. (Alejandro Bachmann)


More Texts

Viennale 2019 – Catalogue text

If that invaluable 1980s book "Incredibly Strange Films" is ever updated, RALF`S COLOURS deserves a prominent place in it. To provide even the usual, basic, preliminary information – like where and when it was filmed, who is in it, and so forth – seriously distorts the experience of discovering it innocently, for the first time. Because nothing here is clear or simple. We glimpse two men – one, mainly – in what appears to be a mostly deserted place. We hear a voice that we presume to belong to Ralf, although he also often refers to Ralf in the third person. We see a dog in both its living and dead states. The voice speaks to us of fantastic concepts: "planetwork", walls built between the dead and the living, technological inventions that already "half exist" because we can imagine them. At the same time, this voice makes a lot of political sense, as it rails against a State based on money and control. Meanwhile, the images veer from landscape studies into rolling digital collages that we can scarcely decipher. Cinema has given us many kinds of poetic documentary, but RALF`S COLOURS (made by Marxt in close collaboration with Michael Petri) offers something truly new and indescribable. (Adrian Martin)

Viennale 2019 – Katalogtext

Es ist nicht das geringste Verdienst der Arbeiten – Filme und Installationen – von Lukas Marxt, dass sie immer auch zugleich einen offenen Reflexionsraum bereithalten, bei aller ökologischen Dringlichkeit einem nicht die vermeintlich politisch wohlfeile Pistole vor die Brust setzen. Hier also: Sowohl eine formal souveräne, experimentelle Robinsonade in der zerklüfteten Vulkanlandschaft von Lanzarote, als auch, vielleicht noch vielmehr, die postapokalyptische Beschwörung einer von Menschenhand geschaffenen Schizo-Geografie, die ihre nicht weniger irritierende Entsprechung findet in den zerrütteten Satzkaskaden ihres Borderline-Protagonisten. (Stephan Settele)
Orig. Title
Ralfs Farben
Austria, Germany
74 min
Lukas Marxt
Experimental, Essay
Orig. Language
Lukas Marxt
Lukas Marxt, Michael Petri
Michael Petri, Lukas Marxt
Sound Design
Marcus Zilz
Sound Mix
Marcus Zilz
Supported by
BKA - innovative film, Filmstiftung NRW, Atelier 105 Light Cone, CINE ART
Available Formats
Digital File (prores, h264)
DCP 2K flat
Aspect Ratio
Sound Format
5.1 surround
Festivals (Selection)
Montréal - Festival du Nouveau Cinéma (Prix des nouveaux alchimistes + Prix de l´expérimentation MUBI)
Locarno - Festival Int. de film
Wien - Viennale - Int. Filmfestwochen
Duisburg - Duisburger Filmwoche
Moscow Int. Experimental Film Festival
Jihlava - IDFF East Silver Market
Lissabon - KINO Festival des deutschsprachigen Films
Moscow Int. Experimental Film Festival
Osnabrück - EMAF - European Media Art Festival
Graz - Diagonale, Festival des österreichischen Films
Hamburg - Dokumentarfilmwoche