A Tale of Two Cities
It is often said that a city can have many faces. And that it all depends on where one is at the time, downtown or on the periphery, caught in the heavy traffic or visiting a park, high above the rooftops or perhaps below the ground. The image of any city is composed of countless individual images, of accidental snapshots, preconceived perspectives and unwelcome irritations. For this short film Jem Cohen has connected images from his hometown of New York and of Vienna: these pictures of the two cities, which at first glance do not construct a context, create a literally new perspective. Increasingly, the obvious and well-known differences in the architecture and streets are neutralized; the locations - an empty stairwell here, a busy street there - exchange shape and quality. The more similar the mostly nocturnal images become - for a moment the long history of the two cities becomes one that they share in common - the more urgently the white, lifeless faces irritate us. Filmed at Vienna University´s Anatomical Institute, the dead eyes of Vienna stare back, as silent witnesses, at the viewer.
(Viennale Catalogue 2007)
A Tale of Two Cities (Viennale Trailer 2007)