WARS

Daily routine in an empty restaurant car on a long-distance train. Deserted tables, a slow-moving staff. The waiter leans at the window, unhurriedly cleaning his fingernails. The cook and the waitress bide their time patiently. Gestures of waiting. Communication no longer seems necessary, as the well-coordinated routine functions smoothly without it. Only the train´s clattering on the rails is audible - an monotonous and soothing sound. This monotony is echoed in the forced lethargy of the restaurant-car staff. It seems to be a ghost train, a train without passengers. Then the tableau comes alive as if wakened by an inaudible signal. The three figures begin to sweep and wipe: The car must be cleaned thoroughly before it reaches the terminus.

"Space is being destroyed by the train, and only time remains." This statement made by Heinrich Heine could be used as a summary of Josef Dabernig´s film. While the countryside flies past the window, the train never stops. The surroundings disappear behind it. At the same time, the atmosphere of languor in the restaurant car is tangible. Boredom dominates the inactivity and is not completely dispelled by the sudden start of cleaning. The protagonists never really practice their professions: They neither cook nor do they serve food. Precisely framed black-and-white images laconically depict the restaurant car´s Formica charm as a moving microcosm: A service job as scheduled monotony. This is an entertaining study of movement and inertia.

(Andrea Pollach)


WARS was shot in a restaurant carriage belonging to the Polish railway company PKP. The windowpane is murky, all movement passive – standstill in motion. We see an empty kitchen, a waiter leaning against a window cleaning his fingernails, an untouched array of drinks and snacks, and finally a long shot of the empty restaurant car. The room is in movement, in stark contrast to its interior, which lacks guests or narrative. The void we are discussing here is ordered and prescribed. It is not easy to define the systematic emptiness of WARS using standard expressions or binary opposites. It combines movement and stillness, passivity and activity, apathy and involvement.

(Matthias Michalka)


Business is at a standstill in the dining car of a long distance train: waitress, waiter and cook sit back and wait for diners. The air of apathetic indifference, which stems out of fatigue and working in a job below one´s ability, infects the viewer.

(Catalog of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow)


--> WARS

Orig. Title
WARS
Year
2001
Country
Austria
Duration
10 min
Director
Josef Dabernig
Category
Avantgarde/Arts
Orig. Language
no dialogue
Downloads
WARS (Image)
WARS (Image)
WARS (Image)
Credits
Director
Josef Dabernig
Script
Josef Dabernig
Cinematography
Christian Giesser
Editing
Josef Dabernig
Actor/Actress
Josef Dabernig, Ingeburg Wurzer, Otto Zitko
Production
Josef Dabernig
Supported by
Wien Kultur, BKA. Kunst
Available Formats
16 mm (Distribution Copy)
Aspect Ratio
1:1,37
Sound Format
mono
Frame Rate
25 fps
Color Format
b/w
DCP 2K flat (Distribution Copy)
Aspect Ratio
1:1,33
Sound Format
stereo
Frame Rate
25 fps
Color Format
b/w
Digital File (prores, h264)
Festivals (Selection)
2001
Viennale - Vienna Int. Film Festival
2002
Triest - Alpe Adria Cinema - Film Festival
Graz - Diagonale, Festival des Österreichischen Films
Madrid - Semana de Cine Experimental
Regensburg - Kurzfilmwoche
2003
Istanbul - Int. Short Film Festival
Ann Arbor - Film Festival