Sunny Afternoon: a title that evokes associations with time. Time that passes slowly as you look out a window, watching the clouds and yourself as you watch. Time whose transience is clearly obvious. In other words precious time. Precious just like everything else that possesses the bittersweetness of both promises and transience.
Time is in fact very important in Sunny Afternoon. First there are the 20 years that passed between work on this film began and its completion, which vanish in a moment of deviation, of brief confusion. And then the careful apportionment of time through a montage of single frames (from varying perspectives) that depict a person sitting and standing back up in a natural movement. This turns into an artificially animated expanse of motion. And finally the playful way in which the awareness of time is heightened by means of a transition from a rigid structural principle to an almost frivolously free form.
The game with time becomes a game with expectations — expectations that Renoldner creates with the appropriate earnestness and formal skill of an avant-garde artist, only to derail them with the sense of humor of someone who reveals a formal consequence to be an agreeable convention. The filmmaker-cum-composer becomes a (singing) commentator on himself — and on a composition that makes use of various techniques and principles, though not to subject itself to them, but to use them for penetrating borders in a carefree manner, borders between avant-garde and pop, concrete and abstract, and reality that has been experienced or only imagined.
Sunny Afternoon ends with a drawing of the filmmaker, who ages by years in just a few seconds. Time leaves its marks on his face, and eventually makes them disappear completely (on a white background). The transience referred to here may be a higher law, but the manner in which laws are applied is left up to whoever has the choice of obeying them slavishly or dealing with them in a playful manner.
Sunny Afternoon is the confrontation of “kind of” an avantgarde-film with “kind of” a musicvideo, putting questions about the conventions, standard taboos and clichés of different film-“genres”. Also music and sound was taylored to characterise typical clichés of different genres.
Sunny Afternoon has two main film parts.
The first part is kind of a “found footage”-film, using only 16 photos of a simple movement shot in 1992, and explores the richness of possible variations and combinations of this very limited source material. This film also follows a “visual music”-concept, when each photograph of the movement is connected to one precise tone of a twelve-tone-scale. Thus the structure of the images defines the musical structure.
At the same time this film part adds unusual humoristic elements to this usually more academic genre of "structural film".
The second film part in “SUNNY AFTERNOON” intends to break some of the typical rules of classical avant-garde film, it enjoys a more intuitive workflow, allows almost kitschy sequences such as time-lapse photos of clouds on a blue sky or playful experiments with four different, rotating black chairs. This film part also combines a variety of different techniques like drawings (animated and still), photography, time lapse photography, rotoscopy, object animation, pixilation, and partly combines these techniques.
This it explores different levels of depiction: images of reality, representation of reality, illusion and even abstraction and in that way analyses the special possibilities and meanings of the artistic image.
Sunny Afternoon is based on the lyrics of a song composed 25 years ago and brings a filmproject to an end, which had first started 20 years ago; at that time the first script and the photos for the first film part were made. So of course this self-portrait is also a reflection about time. A short introduction adds a few photographs of the author approx. 20 years before the first film part, and the closing image, carefully drawn by Adrienn Kiss, imagines how the author might look like 20 years after film part two. (Thomas Renoldner)