Scene from the film Madman's Dictionary
Scene from the film Madman's Dictionary
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Madman's Dictionary

  • Germany

A neon in the faltering light. A laconic definition of the word madness is inscribed on the electric screen. The camera advances in a dilapidated and desert space: a hospital or some other enclosure dedicated to science. In a few shots, Benno Trautmann imposes a program where the preciseness of the description abandons nothing to metaphor, where concepts dialogue with the flesh of images and sounds. From one space to another, from one definition to another, borrowing from the arbitrary and from the precision of a dictionary’s organization, some madman designated by the title (Homo Sapiens, no less) carries us in the crossing of a hell sprinkled with cold destructions and mechanical horrors, and over which hangs a feeling of latent death. With the disturbing dexterity of a surgeon, the film cuts and then joins together in massive blocks places, events, and objects, emblematic or tragically banal, creating, for example, resonances between the recent bombings in Iraq, the deadly beauty of a stuffed animal and industrial and mining exploitation. Wounded nature (as that hideous machine for cutting and pruning trees) and destructive activities follow one another, according to a rhythm that we suspect disturbed. In this inexorable advance towards a predictable apocalypse, it is the dictionary and its exhaustive scanning that is both systematic and erratic that gives meaning: wildly fluctuating.

Nicolas Féodoroff


  • Original Title
    Madman's Dictionary
  • Direction
  • Screenplay
    Benno Trautmann
  • Cinematography
    Benno Trautmann
  • Editing
    Antonia Lerch
  • Runtime
    63 min (46-90 min.)
  • Year
  • Country
    • Germany
  • Format
    • Colour
  • Festivals
    • FESTIVALS 2010
    • FIDMarseille, France (Festival International du Film Marseille, Competition International - Premiére mondiale) dokumentART Neubrandenburg, Germany + dokumentART Szczecin, Poland (European Film Festival for Documentaries, International Competiton, German and Polnish Premiere) Festival International du Film La Roche-sur Yon, France (Carte Blanche) DOCLisboa, Portugal (International Film Festival, New Visions Section) DOKLeipzig, Germany (Kuratierte Messe) Mar del Plata International Film Festival, Argentina (Panorama Section) Festival International du Film d'Environnement Paris, France (Competition International) is powered by Doc Alliance, a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.

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