La Sortie

  • Austria 
Audio Tracks 

The first film of cinematographic history shows workers leaving a factory. The title of this work which is 50 seconds long and bequeathed to us by the Lumière brothers is La Sortie des Ouvriers de l´Usine. There are three known versions of the work. In the hardware and software of the cinematographic "machine" resides much of the specifically mechanical charm of the industrial age. In one sense it is a paradox that the Lumières began film history with workers leaving the factory instead of giving place of honour to them working on the production lines. Over a hundred years later Siegfried A. Fruhauf has made a fourth version of La Sortie des Ouvriers de l´Usine. This remake gives short shrift to the unconscious irony of the Lumière films. Fruhauf needs six minutes to run through the current fate of industry. Fourteen workers are present here - five on the (optically) vertical axis, the rest cross the horizontal axis in the background. Their movements form a cross - a symbol of death as a ballet méchanique.
The initial image is transformed into almost abstract black and white surfaces, harnessed, Sisyphus-like, to a lunatic dance of repetition. Fruhauf increases the acceleration of the striding workers in discrete steps until they are tearing along - the capacity of the film tested to its outer limits - until it can´t take any more. Maximum acceleration leads to stasis - after the acceleration throughout the film comes the logical consequence - the last frame - the freeze frame. Nothing more can happen. The model (literally) of progress collapses. And instead there is paralysis. A dead end. The workers are motionless, and with them the factory. Rien ne va plus. (Peter Tscherkassky)


  • Original Title
    La Sortie
  • Direction
  • Runtime
    6 min (1-15 min.)
  • Year
  • Country
    • Austria
  • Festivals
    • 1999 Austin - Cinetexas - Int. short film&video&new media festival
    • 1999 Clermont-Ferrand - Festival de Court Metrage
    • 1999 Cork - Int. Film Festival
    • 1999 Denver - Int. Film Festival
    • 1999 Graz - Diagonale, Festival des österreichischen Films
    • 1999 Hamburg - Int. Kurzfilm-Festival & No Budget
    • 1999 Leipzig - Int. Festival für Dok.- u. Animationsfilm
    • 1999 New Jersey - Black Maria Festival
    • 1999 Osnabrück - European Media Art Festival
    • 1999 Regensburg - Kurzfilmwoche
    • 1999 Uppsala - Int. Short Film Festival
    • 1999 Wien - StudentInnenfilmfestival
    • 1999 Wiesbaden - exground on screen
    • 2000 Humboldt - Int. Film Festival
    • 2000 New Jersey - Black Maria Festival
    • 2000 Teplice - Int. Art Film Festival Trencianske
    • 2000 Wunsiedel - Grenzland Filmtage
    • 2002 Cork - Int. Film Festival
    • 2002 Regensburg - Kurzfilmwoche 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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