The Power of Emotion (1983)

Can’t find a cover for this, even at the Madman website (cos it’s their edition I’ve got), so you’ll have to put up with just my words rather than a pretty picture to distract you from them… Anyway, I find myself wondering exactly what it was that drew me to this one; Alexander Kluge isn’t a director I’ve felt any great need to explore in the past, and I can’t remember having heard of this specific title or seeing it noted in any guide that it was a film I Needed To See. I do recall seeing it in the DVD section at Abbey’s, thought “hmm that might be interesting”, and obviously I eventually took it home with me, but how did it get my attention to begin with? I’ve been wondering that while waiting for the film to come up in my viewing schedule, and now I’m wondering again after having watched it. It’s described as a collage film, including bits of stock footage, staged fiction scenes, and other scenes of opera rehearsals that I don’t know if they were staged or not. All of this is in some way tied in to the theme of emotion, which quality is not exactly present in the film in high quantities… The DVD liner note amusingly observes that, for one of his earlier films, Kluge himself offered free tickets to anyone so bewildered by it they needed a second viewing; in this day and age, though, we can instead turn to Michelle Langford’s audio commentary, as I did, and, well, I left not much more enlightened despite her enthusiasm… as she reiterated in the commentary, Kluge wants You The Viewer to be part of the fun, be an active viewer rather than a passive one, draw your own conclusions about what he’s showing, how you think it connects. And maybe if I’d felt Kluge was giving me anything worth thinking about, I might’ve done so.

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