Young Boy Dancing Group
Sculpture without Audience
with Maria Metsalu, Nicolas Roses, Manuel Scheiwiller, Michele Rizzo, Casper Malte Augusta
Oct 4, 2017


A project by Raphael Linsi and Pedro Wirz
WWW by Alex Kern

Peter Liechti

Peter Liechti

Todos Filmes, All Films

Jan 28 - 29, 2017

Panorama Boa Vista is pleased to announce the first retrospective of Swiss filmmaker Peter Liechti (1951-2014) in Portugal. All films will be screened in original version with English subtitles. Scroll down for full program and screening hours. Free entry.

It’s true, I tend to digress. I always have, already when I was at school. You can view that negatively, and call it a lack of concentration. Or positively, and see it as a strength that an associative process begins as soon as something touches me. Obviously, I need a clear structure for my film work, a line that leads me from A to B. That has to be clearly set out, as well because it allows me to improvise. The way it works in music. I like to think in musical structures in my film work. And I’d like to preserve the ability not always to know in advance what I’m going to do, to stay curious and a seeker in what I do. At the risk of things going totally wrong or taking a completely different direction from what I expected. If I can preserve that, I’m satisfied as an artist. Peter Liechti in conversation with Constantin Wulff, November 2004





Senkrecht/Waagrecht (1985, 8 min.)
In their sequence of movements and events, Roman Signer’s actions are conceived as space/time sculptures. In keeping with the opposing directions taken in these documents, the film is simply called Senkrecht/Waagrecht (Vertical/Horizontal). This oppositional tendency is underlined by the locations: winter/ice/water/summer/clouds/air. The “com men tary” to the story is provided by the abstract signs of the sign-language used by the hearing impaired and above all by the music of Möslang/Guhl.

Ausflug ins Gebirg (1986, 33 min.)
A man takes a holiday trip to an unidentified neighbouring country. The oppressive atmosphere of the Alps is the ideal counterpart to the morose mood he has brought with him: sick of the Alps, sick of civilization, sick of mentalities... sometimes all this uninhibited spleen can be fun. He needs these trips to the mountains. He needs the anger to get a handle on his anxiety.

Théâtre de l'Espérance (1987, 19 min.)
"World peace, disarmament and re-armament are hackneyed phrases, and the images we see on television and in the paper are hackneyed images. It was with this in mind that I set out – with more than a little delight – to drag the longworn-out images of the Geneva summit between Reagan and Gorbachev into the spotlight once again. ...The film revives those days gone by as exactly as possible, in accordance with the wonderfully flickering pictures that had branded themselves in my memory. I gathered some of the material as a spectator in Geneva, but also tweaked the old TV images until they had been prodded into obedience. The framework for the story was provided by Roman Signer: refrain, commentary and fresh air.” Peter Liechti

Tauwetter (1987, 8 min.)
When the snow melts and the hills of Appenzell are dotted with green and white, buckets of water slowly make their way up and down the slope. After a time, the gentle movement turns into violent swaying. Shots ring through the air, the buckets are punctured. Slowly the water begins to flow. This is the high point of a ritual that begins deep within the bowels of the mountain. Then trails of water spurt through the air to the thawing slopes and the water begins to gush, nearly causing the well in the valley to overflow...


Kick That Habit (1989, 45 min.) TRAILER
Kick That Habit is neither a conventional portrait of a musician nor a psychedelic illustration of Recycling Noise Music or video-clip tarted up with documentary frills. It is a subtle attempt to mesh a visual and an acoustic world of expression that ends up creating a fine-spun synthesis. The portrait of two musicians (Norbert Möslang and Andy Guhl) who recycle discarded electronic equipment to produce innovative sounds is the starting point of an enigmatic search for lost, destroyed, deranged experiential worlds. Footage of the two musicians’ rehearsals and concerts is juxtaposed with visual shards of the film-maker’s own memory. The sense of doom that Peter Liechti can coax out of everyday occurrences is vitally present in the music, too. These autonomous parts are interwoven with a “Trip to the Mountains”, to the Alpstein, and down to Lake Constance – two magic pillars delimiting eastern Switzerland, the native region of both the film-maker and the musicians.


Grimsel (1990, 48 min.) 
Grimsel-West was the name of a project for the expansion of the hydroelectric plant in the Hasli Valley. Submitted on 30 June 1988, its realization seems fairly improbable for the moment. Originally conceived as an expression of opposition to the construction of a new dam, the film tries to fathom the undercurrent of apprehension caused by such plans to exploit the environment.


Marthas Garten (1997, 89 min.)
Karl lives a secluded life. He likes to keep his flat in perfect order, enjoys spending quiet hours in a café, likes to sleep. One evening, in somewhat sinister circumstances, he meets Martha, a woman who exercises an enigmatic fascination. A fatal love story is set in motion; even at the very end, Karl will not be able say what really happened – or how it could. He soon realizes that love has also brought something uncanny into his life. Gradually, even the best-repressed demons in him are unleashed. Even the jolly “stag outings” with his old friend Uwe can no longer provide the relaxation he is used to. Karl experiences his encounter with Martha as a convulsion, a fall from on high. The violence of his feelings shatters his thin veneer of “security”; he plummets to hitherto unknown depths. Ultimately he experiences his surroundings as no more than a macabre backdrop for his own decline and fall. Convinced that the whole city has been infiltrated by the “undead”, he barricades himself in his home. But that is precisely where he finds his pallid neighbours sitting, and above all where Mr. Tepesch, the old vampire, has settled down: it is a carefully laid conspiracy. Meanwhile Martha’s ties to the neighbourhood are growing ever stronger. Karl has been drawn into a murderous maelstrom that can only lead to bloodshed.


Signer's Koffer (1996, 82 min.) TRAILER
Signers Koffer (Signer’s Suitcase] is a kind of road movie that takes us right across Europe. From the Swiss Alps to eastern Poland, from Stromboli to Iceland. Always following the magically charged “groove” of the landscape. A wide-ranging attempt to find the ideal travelling speed. Roman Signer uses his very personal bag of tricks to mark the stations along the way: strikingly simple operations brimming with subtle humour. But the film is also a journey through mental states. A tightrope walk between whimsy and melancholy. Danger – both physical and psychological – becomes a stimulus to the senses. Sudden plunges, abrupt mood changes shape the rhythm and atmosphere of this cinematic journey.


Hans im Glück (2003, 90 min.) 
Hans im Glück (Lucky Jack) is the story of a man who sets out to shake his smoking habit. He decides to hike from Zurich, where he currently lives, to St. Gall, where he grew up and started smoking. He is prepared to keep repeating the journey – always choosing another route – until he has achieved his goal: finally becoming a non-smoker! He hopes that through the ritual cross-country trek and the strict smoking ban he imposes on himself along the way, he will be able to rid himself of some emotional baggage, and of his addiction. On his search for the sources of his addiction, the haunting yet comic quest for his spiritual home increasingly becomes the central theme. All of the images, “insights” and memories he comes across on his non-smoking treks ultimately form the basis of a cinematic ride through heaven and hell in his own country – with the occasional foray far beyond national borders. Hans im Glück is a reckoning and a declaration of love. A road movie for pedestrians, a regionalist film for the homeless. It is dedicated to all the smokers and other addicts, to all the unlucky devils who have managed to remain decent anyway – and of course to Lucky Jacks everywhere.






Namibia Crossings (2004,  92 min.)
Hambana Sound Company: 12 musicians and singers from Namibia, Zimbabwe, Switzerland and Russia go on tour together. Twelve different dreams on the way to a country that, like the newly founded ensemble, has to re-invent itself from scratch: Namibia, formerly German Southwest Africa. The communal quest for the deeper sources of music progressively metamorphoses into individual borderline experiences, above all through the encounter with groups of local musicians in remote provinces – euphoric, sad, intense encounters... Namibia Crossings is a journey through a country of archaic beauty, full of bizarre contrasts and contradictions – a constant echo to the polyphony of the mental landscapes created by the highs and lows of our ensemble.


Hardcore Chambermusic (2006, 72 min.) TRAILER
The well-known Swiss ensemble of Koch-Schütz-Studer have been intensely involved in the European music scene for over fifteen years. Their music is forceful and direct: never “otherworldly”, though always sensitive, never “primitive”, though always passionate – music that is challenging and authentic. For one month straight, they played two sets a night in the same place at the same time... 30 days of single-minded concentration on one thing. Equalling the excitement in cinematic form, Hardcore Chambermusic aims to convey the thrill and exhilaration of these 30 live concerts to an audience that was not physically present. Music and film become an entertaining synthesis of two independent expressive means – a musical adventure as cinematic chamber piece. A musical marathon is compressed into one hour of film. Hardcore Chambermusic invites viewers to immerse themselves, to share in the joy and suffering – to experience music in a new way.


Dedications (2016, 50 min.)
Dedications, Peter Liechti’s last film, was to be dedicated to art, literature, and — in honor of humanity — to a nameless chief from southern Sudan. Critically ill, the filmmaker radically abridged what was originally planned as a trilogy and modified the focus:
“A filmic essay full of ruptures and gaps — surprising and raw, like life itself. Past and present, memory and illness, blend into a heady stream of images and sounds that are more dream than reality. . . full of unbridled life and the melancholy of oblivion.” Peter Liechti about Dedications


The Sound of Insects (2009, 88 min.) TRAILER
Liechti's film tells the incredible story of how the mummified corpse of a 40-year-old man was discovered by a hunter in one of the most remote parts of the country. The dead man's detailed notes reveal that he actually committed suicide through self-imposed starvation only the summer before. A stunning rapprochement of a fictional text, which itself is based upon a true event: a cinematic manifesto for life, challenged by the main character's radical renunciation of life itself. Based on the novel “miira ni narumade” by Shimada Masahiko, according to a true story.
“The Sound Of Insects – Record Of A Mummy is not a film adaptation of literature, but rather the cinematic rapprochement of a fictional text. X’s dramatic monologue is not addressed to
anyone in particular. It is neither descriptive nor retrospective, but deals entirely with the moment. There is no lamentation, no self-pity, no sentimentality. On the contrary, a subliminal self-irony even emerges at times. The text is unobtrusive; it suggests no morals and refrains from measuring value, thereby rendering its impact very direct.” Peter Liechti


Vaters Garten (2013, 93 min.) TRAILER
The film traces a belated reencounter between the director and his ageing parents – and is an attempt at a personal revision of the past. In the process, a new view of the parents emerged, an image which also provides again and again insight into a bygone era. The narrative of their marriage, however, borders on a classic drama.
“Vaters Garten is an attempt at a personal revision of the past. I had always felt like a stranger in my own family until I noticed – not without disquiet — how similar we are in actual fact. The more often I see my parents, all the more moved I am by their old age, by their gradual fading from this life, by the dying out of an entire recollective reservoir. Thus, this film does not necessarily tell the parable of the 'prodigal son,' but rather the story of 'parents lost'.” Peter Liechti


The exhibiton is generously supported by Kulturförderung Appenzell Ausserrhoden.