Chris Kennedy

“Up to the Sky and Much Much More: The Films of Barbara Meter.” July 24, 2018

Up to the Sky and Much Much More

A major figure in Dutch experimental filmmaking, Barbara Meter has been making films since the early 1970s, using the camera and then the optical printer as a way to haptically explore the texture of memory. A theme that occurs occasionally in her films are the lingering effects of life under Nazi occupation during World War II — a conflict that took Meter’s German father away from her. Meter most explicitly addresses this subject in her recent film Up to the Sky and Much Much More, whose narration is provided by the text of letters sent to her by her father during the war, in which he recounts his daily life as a soldier. Interviews with her mother expand on his opposition to fascism — as well as to constraints of any kind, including the bonds of family — and his eventual conscription to the Eastern front. Remarkably, his letters also include fantastical watercolour illustrations of his travels, which Meter incorporates to movingly amplify the emotional resonance of a father-daughter bond made fraught by distance and war.

Also included in this programme are Convalescing, an observational Super 8 film that Meter shot from her sickbed while recovering from an illness; A Touch, a portrait of a visit to a lover to say goodbye; and Ariadne, a mysterious film about losing oneself in the act of being in love, inspired by Franz Schubert’s “Gretchen am Spinnrade’ and told through a visual exploration of the act of weaving.

Convalescing dir. Barbara Meter | Netherlands 2000 | 3 min.  Super 8 to 35mm
A Touch (Aanraking) dir. Barbara Meter | Netherlands 2008 | 13 min.  16mm
Up to the Sky and Much Much More (Bis an den Himmel und noch viel mehr) dir. Barbara Meter | Netherlands 2015 | 35 min.  Digital
Ariadne dir. Barbara Meter | Netherlands 2004 | 12 min.  35mm