Panorama | Documentaries
VIFF veteran Michael Glawogger (1959-2014) was one of our most bravely experimental documentary directors; he looked at the world with the eyes of an awed observer but never dropped his critical stance. Untitled is his last film, and his dream project: "a film that never comes to rest." Shot across Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean and sub-Saharan Africa, and completed by Monika Willi after the director’s death in Liberia, it’s a film without a simple subject—the work of a besotted global traveller who knows what he loves and is trying to figure out why he loves it.
As the footage unfurls, we hear Glawogger’s words in posthumous narration; reflective and unabashedly intellectual, they convey his endless curiosity and his keen sense of contradiction. The images are poetically edited, and what we see is wonderful in its variety alone: an amputee soccer game in the African desert; the dilapidated homes of a former warzone; the night air set aglow in blue from a mass of cheap cell phones; children and sheep attacking piles of garbage with the fervour of hungry scavengers…This is not conventional beauty: there are no sunsets or flowers or grand urban vistas. But, like all great filmmakers, this duo understands that what you film is only part of the equation—the defining factor is how you film it. Glawogger has ended his life with a valediction on film—a gesture of love towards a troubled world. May he rest in peace.
"[An] extraordinary, poetic film."—Wendy Ide, Screen