SIFF Review: Film Ist a Girl & a Gun"/>
This Austrian avant-garde archival exercise somewhat resembles the wonderful Decasia, though with considerably more emphasis on film theory. (The title quotes Godard.) Director Gustav Deutsch's "film drama in five acts" is culled entirely from old European movies, most of them from the silent era. It's a patchwork symphony--or collage, really--set to a score by Christian Fennesz that recalls Philip Glass, Stravinsky, and Sigur Ros. Some of the snippets are wonderful, like a German musical vignette set in a studio approximation of colorful Mexico. And it's amazing how silent-film actors still have the power to move us some 80 years later. That said, Deutsch's thesis is fairly obvious--the phallic guns and marching armies and orgasmic release (including a little bit of actual sex) that's latent in much of cinema already doesn't need to be teased out in such explicit philosophical terms. Eros and thanatos--we get the idea already. Aphorisms and title cards don't lend much to the impact. (Sample wisdom: "I want to say something, but shame prevents me.") Still, Film Ist is packed full of vintage imagery that retains the capacity to shock and enthrall. (NR) BRIAN MILLER Northwest Film Forum, 7 p.m. Fri., May 22 and 9:30 p.m. Sun., May 24.