First, a view of nature: an overcast sky, the chirping of birds. This plays the part of a colorful overture, still open to the world. Steps and the sound of a pushbutton telephone lead acoustically into one of Dietmar Brehm´s "intrusion films": Hallo Mabuse. Here, arriving at the other end of the line, intruding into the image means reversing polarity to negative and concentrating on the schematic through a type of circular aperture. A man´s profile and facial features lose their contours in the heavy light-dark contrasts, yet also emerge expressively. A dialogue of cryptic gestures unfolds.
The source: several scenic miniatures from The Testament of Dr. Mabuse, Fritz Lang´s famous crime film about hypnosis and terror created in the interwar period. Brehm already included this material once before, in a shorter version, in tape 14 of the Praxis series; now he presents it as an autonomous member of the series; decelerated, with a new editing sequence, and also additional pictorial motifs.
Hallo Mabuse captivates through its reduction, in which a conspiratorial narrative takes place, but even more so, the images themselves appear ambiguous, obscure, untrustworthy. A nod of the head, which seems treacherous in its mechanical repetition, meets the profile of a bearded man who does not appear to react at all in a suggested counter shot. The slight flickering of the image further intensifies the impression of an illicit agreement, of witnessing a crooked handshake. The ringing of the unseen telephone and the constant ticking of a clock lend the events a limited temporality. Something is running out, and in doing so, is also already reaching its end, a ghostly final act, which is anticipated by an explosion and breaks off with the sound of a falling guillotine. (Dominik Kamalzadeh)
Translation: Lisa Rosenblatt