top of page
3D Balls in Rainbow Background

/

Radu ZERO

Radu ZERO

 

Active on the Swiss and European art scene for more than fifteen years.

His work as a video artist is mainly reflected in hybrid fictions.

Deliberate oscillations on the very theme of form and on the perception of the image, on the mise en abyme of established codes of perception,

his films are as much cinematographic objects as constantly mutating experimental creations.

 

Over the last three years he has collaborated with Natacha Atlas, BOHREN & DER CLUB OF GORE, Josh Werner & Bill Laswell, Seven Eyes, Matei Visniec, Kid Chocolat, Nicolas Nadar ( FAUVE ), La Cie De nuit comme de jour, Robert Garieri aka "Roccobelly", Asia Argento, and has presented four experimental fictional feature films in targeted and demanding arthouse cinema halls and festivals, like the Green Hours, Reduta and Clubul Taranului / România. Arsenic, Grütli, l'Usine PTR, Zinema, Sputnik, SAS, City Club, Théâtre 2.21, La Datcha / Switzerland

 

In September 2022, his total project, SLEEPER HITS: TROPICAL ABSTRACTIONS, will be presented as an augmented cinema in the prestigious event venue, the Rolex Center, in Lausanne.

In summer 2016 he took part in the RAC, a residence for contemporary art in Brasov / Transylvania.

 

In September 2017 his cinema-total project SLEEPER HITS: TROPICAL ABSTRACTIONS closed the avant garde festival AMURAL / Transylvania.

Your project has entered our festival. What is your project about?

On the surface (or should I rather say: "at first sight"), the subject of my SAG MIR,WIE LANG project would obviously be the Giallo,

this transalpine film genre, which was all the rage in Italy in the lead years (decade of the 70s).

For a first viewing, SAG MIR,WIE LANG looks like a Mannerist gesture, which anamorphizes in the space of a music video,

all the motifs dear to this very coded genre: criminal plot centred on the female character, fetishism of bladed weapons, in-distinction between enjoyment and fear,

secret, fascination and repulsion, night!

In reality, the real subject is a little more underground. It hides between the folds and folds of the perceptible narrative, between the strata formed by the shots and their progression.

In fact, the central subject of the project is "the missing, hidden, forgotten, misplaced image...".

Let me explain. If you look more carefully and closer, you can see it; when we analyse the unfolding of the narrative framework, certain shots seem to have escaped from it, to have disappeared from the editing.

Then, if we try to look at the chronology of events (sequences), the film ends up closing in on itself, like an optical trap.

A trap that keeps us prisoner as spectators, as long as we seek to recreate the concrete images of which the film has been deprived.

Gradually, other images, ghosts, mental projections interfere in the story and assume another meaning within the meaning.

There are also effective keyframes, which are repeated in different places as if by reflection, which distort the space-time on the screen, but which are there to give access to the visual investigation.

The most determined spectators.

To conclude, SAG MIR, WIE LANG is in this sense a mannerist gesture, because it voluntarily uses an aesthetic regime which is that of the Giallo,

To compress it, to deconstruct it, by making its female character travel the same route as that of the spectator, trapped, the space of the eight minutes that the film lasts

It is a pure optical circuit! If you want to check it out more closely here is one last clue: who is filming?

What are your ambitions with your project?

I honestly don't have a very definite ambition for SAG MIR, WIE LANG. I expect to be surprised by the turn of events, that it finds its way and its audience!

I am curious to discover how its trajectory will evolve over time.

I think my projects take place slowly, gradually over time. These are enigma-films that work in stages and require an analysis as well as an evolution of the gaze.

They are not the films of an era of cinema, but films that question the language of cinema and that of images therefore...

I would like him to participate in a personal cycle at some point, which could link him to the overall viewing of my films dealing with the optical enigma of images, my favorite theme.

Tell us something about your shooting/editing/animation? What pleasantly surprised you?

The shooting of SAG MIR,WIE LANG spanned four months, between the end of 2022 and the beginning of 2023.

Knowing that my filming system works a lot on unexpected "in situ" events, the realization of such a project (with a complex narrative and with several levels of meaning),

must benefit from a permanent questioning of the rushes, of the filmed elements. And this, as and when necessary filming.

So the shooting moments adapt and follow the needs of the editing, in parallel. I alternately shot and edited two parallel films from the same project SAG MIR, WIE LANG, for four months.

Two Pug Movies is the one you see on screen while the second one is...the one you will never see, the missing frames. Here, between them, they constitute the entirety of the meaning of the project.

What pleasantly surprised me personally during this construction work was the devotion and involvement of all the participants in the project.

Everyone believed in it very strongly and got involved from the start, unwaveringly, despite the guerrilla and self-produced nature of the film (the film is produced by ZEROSTOCFILM, my own broke studio).

Each shoot was efficient, fast and humanely welded. The actresses have already worked with me on a very ambitious previous film, screened in a prestigious multi-purpose hall last year,

which built a trust that we still work together today, and for other films in the works.

Special mention also to the manager of the CYLURE theater in Lausanne, the antechamber in the film, who made it available to us as many times as necessary, to shoot new scenes as well as connections while it is a space public night.

What expression elements did you use in your project?/animation? What pleasantly surprised you?

We could leave here a little unexpectedly, but I would say Music... to begin with!

Because indeed at the beginning of all that concerns SAG MIR, WIE LANG, there is the extraordinary music group "Bohren & Der Club Of Gore" as well as its title, bearing the name of SAG MIR, WIE LANG, precisely!

My project started from the meeting with their music, with the desire to compose the evocation of a universe, that this music has inspired me for years (they have existed since the mid-90s).

The first means of expression was the potential of their sound, put at the service of my images. We got in touch and decided together on this title from their latest album, which for me was a priority in my approach.

In terms of Image, the strong expressive points of this video are primarily contained in the management of movement, handheld camera and framing. These are fairly complex mechanical movements in space,

and which give a feeling of naturalness and organic intimacy to the plans.

Second, the aesthetic regimen composed in the manner of a painter, which includes a succession of layers used as pigments, enhancers of contrasts and granulation...this makes the images "palpable".

And which give the whole its identity, seeming to come out of a camera from the 70s, having shot a Giallo off-screen.

How would you characterize your work?

Well, I'm going to allow myself a slightly labyrinthine twist:

My work as a filmmaker is a form of memory digest, which uses amnesia as punctuation, as a link in the unfolding of the filmic narrative, specific to the language of cinema.

Each shot, occurrence, could belong (and in reality they really belong), to deferred, dissociated but yet coalescing narratives; all my films form a hyperspace Grant in which it is a question of traveling to contain it.

The off-screens of my films literally become missing sequences that other films reconstruct over time and under other visual regimes and so on.

I think very strongly that cinema is the art of "projection", i.e. of anticipation, of waiting, of the desire for an image to come, which is never there at the right time. .

Also, my cinema is an art of forms. My work focuses on aesthetic force, whether visual or sonic. For me, the two are inseparable, hence the music video aspect of all my projects.

Because those are always orchestrated by musical groups that I fall in love with, and that participate fully in the world of my images. Their compositions become active acoustic images in the narration.

For what group of spectators is your music video targeted?

First, the video was aimed at die-hard "Bohren & Der Club Of Gore" listeners, of course!

This reception was crucial for me. "Bohren & Der Club Of Gore" is a band with a very cinematic sound and aesthetic and ultimately quite referenced in cult film territory.

But, despite a good number of music videos produced throughout their career, no director had dared to venture on the side of the Giallo, and in a real short film of this type.

This audience welcomed the film very well, metabolised it as being coherent with their dark-jazz sound, so the party is largely won.

For the rest, I have no particular target audience. However, I think that today's viewers are less and less focused on semiology...

Therefore SAG MIR, WIE LANG will probably speak more to people with a lot of filmic, pictorial, artistic references.

At what festivals have you had success? 

SAG MIR, WIE LANG had a lot of success in all the festivals that hosted it, I'm lucky, it's very comforting because it was a complex job and the film is a difficult object to classify.

In particular, the Tokyo International ShortFilm Festival played an important promotional role in launching the project's journey in festivals a few months ago.

What motivated you to become a filmmaker?

Alright, here's a short anecdote:

At the end of my childhood, when I was ten years old, living under the communist dictatorship in Bucharest, all access to Western cinematographic works was forbidden to us, and their viewing was punishable.

Having always had an immoderate taste for transgression, I managed to infiltrate a small network of cinephiles, managed by gypsies, who secretly screened these famous "banned" films in the cellars of the capital, to a hundred.

I remember, in these bases there were some wooden chairs, a television, the film projected on a barely visible VHS medium (due to the wear of the magnetic tape), and... a translator who was trying to transmit to us live, the words of the actors.

We especially discovered American exploitation films of the 80s. My heroes then were Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who vulgarly burst the screen, without the slightest restraint.

At the end of these screenings, I went directly to join my friends, who were waiting for me impatiently to find out everything about the films.

They asked me to tell them the adventures in the smallest details, with the gestures, the actions, the facial expressions, the sounds.

It was like night vigils by the fireside, but in our communist quarters, instead of the forest and its spirits.

I took great pleasure in being the messenger, the counter of these adventures lived in secret, animated by the desire for cinema.

Much later, it was the re-activation of these emotions and memories that probably pushed me to work more and more on film material.

Before, I was a painter. And at the same time, I have been running a visual arts section for fifteen years.

What topics do you like to explore in your work?

I am fascinated by the question of the invisible hidden in images. In this sense, one of the major themes of all my films is that of absent, concealed or disappeared images.

This motif comes in a multitude of ramifications whose sub-themes would be: desire in the image or in the image, nature and sacred places as a subject (I have worked a lot on short films with enigmas , which schematized the disappearance of certain ecosystems and certain civilisations), ghosts (very active as characters of all kinds in my films), folk legends (transposed into contemporary intrigues at several levels of reading), as well as the deconstruction film genres.

What genre do you like to shoot and why?

No genre in particular, frankly. I think that according to my projects, I bend the genres to the needs of the forms used in my work. For me, the language of forms is above everything!

He who masters the language of forms masters the visual arts in general. I choose the genre according to the aesthetic device and the narrative system that can best translate it, depending on the current project.

What project would you like to shoot one day, and what would it be about?

For the past ten years, I have shot exclusively in tropical environments. In the future, I dream of moving north.

Film at least once, a film inspired by myths of the frozen world. I would like to immerse myself in ancient legends of the snowy pole and bring them to the screen.

I fantasize about a film with great sound silences, where, unlike my current films - which use sounds as acoustic images -, we would witness the spectacle of images that call for sound-icons...

How has COVID affected your film life?

It's a tricky question. In my opinion, because of COVID, platforms like NETFLIX, AMAZON... have acquired enormous power and invaded the way we choose and watch movies.

Since this pandemic, at least in Europe, there has been a deterioration in interest in the experience of cinema in theaters or on the big screen.

For my part, the screening of my films in theaters has always been essential, but... I have adapted.

And the good side is that I accept more easily to work for a direct online publication of my projects; which contributes to making them travel more than before.

I don't know, in the end I remain quite divided on the question, everything is so uncertain today...

In my view, from within, internet platforms are participating in a phenomenon that deeply undermines the ability of audiences to make deliberate choices and think things through when it comes to choosing a movie. For what ? The offer of these platforms immediately validates a certain editorial line, and the simple fact of clicking out of curiosity on teasers, advertisements or images that attract us, triggers the algorithms inherent in the machine. So, little by little, the audience's choices are obscured, biased by exhaustive layers of films that probably don't reflect the true choices of an informed viewer. It's a vicious circle. The machine offers what it considers to be the right choice, based on anecdotal calculations.

For cinemas, it's a different story. But they keep losing ground, so...

What do you do if you're not thinking about a movie, work, shooting? 

I share time with my family, my wife and my son. We travel, we cross nature, we discover cities...

I love silence, I have a great need for auditory and visual silence when I am not working.

So, I walk, often at night, I purify myself in the fresh air, on the edge of the immense Lake Geneva, where I live. Water, night are subtle presences that rebuild me cyclically.

What are your hobbies?

The answer is hidden in your previous question. But, I might as well answer that... I watch movies.

What projects do you plan to shoot in the future?

My cinema is a filmic hyperspace, made up of creations that use amnesia as punctuation and as a binder.

Each shot, each occurrence could belong to another dissociated narrative, of which we have lost track, and which must be considered as existing somewhere in this hyperspace.

These are off-screens that become active subjects in other of my films and so on.

To acclimatise to my cinema in general, it is necessary to consider my productions as being a single film crossed by actors, places, and situations which mutate and communicate at the same time.

I am currently filming the second episode of the selected film, SAG MIR, WIE LANG. As I explained above, my shots, sequences and images are reflections, double ghosts of other images.

In the specific case of the episode in progress, it will indeed be an inverted spectrum of the aforementioned film. This ghost film was already planned during the shooting of the first film.

So that in the end, images from the previous shoot, in 2022, will be present in this new part.

Once again, this film will be a tribute to genre cinema, but this time in a visual language closer to the Midnight Movies of the 80s.

At the same time, I am working on a substantial medium-length film, very important to me, which will be integrated into the permanent flow of my deja-vu images, and whose subject will be the assassination of an "island-princess".

Allegorical fact, inspired by the real story of a fabulous island called Ada-Kaleh, destroyed and then sunk by the Romanian communist power, at the end of the 60s, for ideological reasons.

This film will be called ADA KALEH, from the exact name of the island itself (which currently lies at the bottom of the Danube), and from the name of the central character in the film, princess who has become a ghost,

spectre of the memory of images, returning to testify to the submerged existence of this little Romanian Atlantis of yesteryear.

The music for this film was composed and performed by my faithful musician Nicolas Nadar, as well as by the famous oriental jazz singer Natacha ATLAS (whose music has toured the world and accompanied many famous films).

bottom of page