Kindheit in Jaba, Ungarn. Die Jungen erzählen: Dass Karsci Tiere mochte, dass er sich manchmal mit der Lehrerin stritt, er die anderen gerne zum Lachen brachte, dass ihm eines Tages ein Zahn ausfiel und es nicht aufhörte zu bluten.
LIONS RIDING MOTORCYCLES
Andrea Reiter picks out two aspects which the movie combines: On the one hand there is the absence of Karcsi, a search for traces of him. Secondly, the film is understood as an theoretical approach to remembering. It tries to talk about how memory works. Two years ago, Andreas Bolm was already participating at the Duisburger Filmwoche. His movie Jaba took place in the very same village. How and why did he get back there?
Bolm had heard of a boy who had died in the village, but there was not much more information and maybe not even interest at first: „What happens in the houses stays in the houses!“
Actually, it was all because of an VHS tape. The villagers knew Andreas Bolm was working in the movies, so they wanted him to repair a VHS tape. When the tape worked again, they saw recordings of a sick boy, a dying boy, a boy’s funeral. „These pictures stayed with us“ (Bolm). The first contact with the VHS material marks the beginning of the movie.
Bolm and Pujol knew very early that the pieces of memory have to be told from the childrens’ point of view. They started filming with the grandmother, but it became clear, that they simply did not want to bring pain to the adults of the village. Shooting with the adults made the filmmakers feel very bad, they were under the impression of only bringing grief to them. The children, on the contrary, dealt with their friend’s disappearance in a totally different way. „It was very ‚bestechend’ how they remembered!“ (Bolm).
The interviews start at a certain point. The audience is participating in a process of remembering. Has this been the idea from the beginning?
Andreas Bolm does not approve the expression “interview”. The idea of a process existed before, yes, „we needed to create space, without pushing the children.” The only scene where space couldn’t really evolve is the school scene. The principal invited all the children to participate. This scene is different. It is the absence of free space.
Lions, gorillas, horses… Through the childrens’ drawings, their ideas and fantasies find their way back into the process. „Process, I love this word! (…) We are invited to recreate a picture of Karcsi“ (Pujol)
What are these stories the children tell us? Who knows what really happened? The children mix up things they have heard, words maybe, stories the adults told, with things they just made up. In the end, nobody really knows. It’s up to fantasy again!
And to space. Just like the wrestling scene. One participant is interested in the development of the scene. On the way to somewhere else, their car got stuck. The children, Bolm and Pujol had to stay and wait in the woods, without knowing what to do. They let the children play and slowly fighting and wrestling evolved. The location gave birth.
The images stay in the focus of the discussion. One participant articulates that the story is told through bodies. Arrangements of bodies which are significantly set up, elaborated and artificial. The movie teaches us, we learn to watch. Watching this movie is labour, just like playing is. This becomes clear at the end of the movie, when we are watching the images of animals in the zoo. Real animals. Lion, fox, bird. We are almost waiting for them to start talking, to start fighting or at least to start riding their motorcycles!
One participant wants to know, how the arranged images of the boys developed in the working process?
Bolm tells that there wasn’t much talking. He instructed the children with the needed information, Pujol was often somewhere else, recording sound. Once again, it seems to be the space given, that generously gave arrangements back. Pujol describes the images. When the childrens’ faces are shown while they are listening to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, the focus stays soft. The little fat boy in the arranged, slightly erotic, loving picture at the lake, he could be out of a Pasolini movie! Some other “drawings” are floating, only touching the surface.
The movie is breathing through its edited rhythm. Rhythm now becomes the topic in the discussion. Especially one cut. One picture. Werner Ruzicka and Pepe Danquart are seriously disturbed by its destructive way. First, both Ruzicka and Danquart praise the opening scene. The children riding motorcycles, the choreography, it’s almost like an “Angelopolous shot” (Danquart). We fall in love with the way of storytelling, but then later on there is the cutaway! It happens, while the interview with the two boys takes place. An illustrated picture. It is only a short break, but “you killed your baby in the editing room!” (Danquart) Why?
Andreas Bolm answers with rather practical reasons. The interview had to be intermitted. Something had to be put there, some kind of gesture. Ruzicka is not convinced. In his opinion, the movie is “nourished by dreamtime”. This cutaway is abandoning the magic. “Another solution should have been found!” (Ruzicka)
Noelle Pujol defends the cut. She sees the movie in a theatrical context, with an act structure. Over all, everything happens on the same stage. In this interpretation, it is no proper cut. The impression that this cutaway is kicking the rhythm of the whole movie stays very alive in parts of the audience. Another participant that has seen the movie more than once, expresses how much she started to like the cutaway, this interruption. The more she saw it, the more she started to like it. She approves the imperfection, it is not rigid, like a little epilogue that makes us aware to feel the loss of the boy as a rapture and a serious disturbance. In the end, these two opinions regarding the cutaway confront each other.