Soft Cinema - Lev Manovich & Andreas Kratky

Soft Cinema : Navigating the Database is an ambitious project by Lev Manovich and Andreas Kratky. The DVD includes three films ; 'Texas', 'Mission to Earth' and 'Absences'.

It continues Manovich's interest in database as a new film medium. Malcolm Le Grice was exploring this notion about fifteen years ago, and doing the coding himself. Here, Manovich and Kratky work with software developers Shoenerwissen/Office for Computational Design to visualise their video database.

Manovich and Kratky have given film an aura. Hyper continuous and generative "There is no single 'unique' version of each film."[1] Each screening is called, by Manovich, a 'performance'. And with each screening it is possible to sense the underlying hyper structure of each film.

In 'Mission to Earth', the longest of the three films, the narrative is about Inga, an alien from outer space, deployed to Earth to report on life here. The work explores immigration as a theme and the feelings of the immigrant. This is partly autobiographical in terms of Manovich's experience.

Because the structure of 'Soft Cinema' is essentially spatial, all three works use space to explore feelings between the individual and their environment and relationships. Kratky's 'Absences' is about a man who feels he has to leave where he has been living. The montage and split-screen structure are also spatial in their relativism.

Kratky's work is more distant, more of a poem to Manovich's prose, which perhaps also has something to do with his use of the film noir aesthetic.