Archivalism was never like this. The film-makers have explored a mass of 'travelogue' footage shot by the Italian explorer-cameraman Luca Comerio in the early years of this century, and turned it into a magical, terrifying journey through inner space. The original images have been stretch-printed and colour-tinted, giving them a fragile surface beauty, but also creating a crucial distance from the original content: the slaughter of big game, the taming of colonised peoples in Africa and Asia, the glorification of imperial conquest. There's no moralising commentary to point up the contradictions; each viewer is left to dream his/her way through a phantasmagoria that extends the definition of Empire-building to the act of photography itself. Sauve qui peut.
Yervant Gianikian, Angela Ricci Lucchi
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