Becoming Outline

"In Becoming Outline, the eighteen ground plans of the apartments in which I lived can be seen one-to-one as a film set and as an outline marked in red on a field—a spatial resumé that fragmentarily thematizes growing up. What does it mean ‘to be at a disadvantage,’ and to come from a family that is economically weak in terms of capital, patriarchal and culturally uneducated, with a ‘foreground’ in immigration? What does the word ‘self-empowerment’ mean and how can a story like this be told cinematically? My experiment of creating a conceptual coming-of-age film." (Director's Statement)

At the beginning of Miriam Bajtala's Becoming Outline, we are told that in classical anthropology, field and and home are distinct spheres of knowledge. In the filmmaker’s exploratory confrontation with her own (family)history, however, the two coincide—distance and familiarity, objectivity and interconnectedness, rational understanding and affective involvement. The film attempts a productive confrontation along the spaces in which the artist has lived in Slovakia, Austria, Canada, and Central America; the translation of a subjectively experienced life into an artistic form in which—as the narrator/researcher who inhabits the soundtrack explains to us at the end—“the rift turns into an experience.”

Without allowing the deeply personal to become navel-gazing of the private and innermost, Becoming Outline creates a cinematic form that describes the dimensions of class, nation, and gender as elements of a personal experience, personal socialization, and personal constitution. The film contrasts these discursive, political, historical spaces with the emergence of a freer “room of one’s own” (Viginia Woolf). Film and performance, images and voices, fiction and documentary, signs and affects mesh seamlessly, thus weaving apartments with sports halls, border stations with hotels, teachers’ and authors' rooms, only to lead them back again and again to a literal field where they are newly arranged. The encounter with this form could be described as an involved/involving abstraction, which demands empathy only to the extent that it does not disable the leeway that allows the viewer to transfer it to their own lives. (Alejandro Bachmann)  

Translation: Lisa Rosenblatt

Orig. Title
Becoming Outline
70 min
Miriam Bajtala
Orig. Language
Miriam Bajtala
Miriam Bajtala
Marianne Borowiec
Tumido, Nitro Mahalia, Rashim
Andreas Hamza
Miriam Bajtala
Sound Design
David Almeida Ribeiro
Anna Kohler Frauenlob, Lotta Bösch, Matilda Lurf, Isabella Lurf, Jona Moro, Gwendolin Kovacic, Katrin Kröncke, Anat Stainberg, Thomas Hörl, u.a. / et al.
Supported by
Bundesministerium für Kunst, Kultur, öffentlicher Dienst und Sport / Federal Ministry for Arts, Culture, the Civil Service and Sport, Wien Kultur MA 7, Land Niederösterreich, Otto Mauer Fonds
Original Score
Stefan Németh
Available Formats
DCP 4K flat (Distribution Copy)
Aspect Ratio
Sound Format
5.1 surround
Frame Rate
25 fps
Color Format