Winter (LFS01413 6)

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Winter shots 1957 in Philippsburg.


Winter shots 1957 in Philippsburg.


Reference / film number :  LFS01413 6
Date :  1957
Coloration :  Color
Sound :  Mute
Running time :  00:01:37
Reel format :  8 mm
Genre :  Amateur movie
Thematics :  Environment, Identity, Traditions
Archive :  Haus des Dokumentarfilms

Context and analysis

The sun amidst a glow of dawn - the yellow round stands moodily over snow-covered roofs. The amateur film could be shot in colour since the mid-1930s, and even in these winter impressions from Philippsburg in 1957, the colors are inconspicuously apparent next to the white of the snowy urban landscape. In the feature film, color was not always welcome to directors who demand art, as color film reinforced the realism of the medium. In the private film, she was a means to give even more emphasis to the promise of documentary and authentic.

For amateur film makers, too, the challenge remains of giving their own film their own form. The first shot of the winter impressions not only marks a time of day, she also uses one of the basic possibilities of image design: The scene with the morning sun tilts into the surface, gaining its atmospheric density, as the visible between surface and depth appears. The contrast is all the clearer when, in the next shot with the deep-focus image, the other basic possibility of visual arrangement is picked up: a road and a stream side by side look deep, and the snow shows its surface in the gradations of light and shadow , With the staggered surfaces in white, pictorial space emerges all the more as a spatial image, as a 'picture' of a winter landscape that gets something picturesque.

Then a woman in the foreground scurries through the picture, while the street is still in shadow under the brightly lit snow roofs. The day begins, and even in amateur film there are easy ways to capture movement in the moving image: people go to the camera and drive toward them, as now the car with the men from the winter service. In several cuts, he approaches the camera, the driver is in a close-up more accurately recognizable, his shoveling staff in the half-close. The film draws on the means of 'dissolution', as they are known from feature and documentary films, it performs to a certain extent, what the cinema with the design of an action shows. The advancing morning brings a temporal continuity in the game, which combines with a surprising spatial jump: With the car from the winter service, the movement leads to the camera - and it leads away from her, if after a cut a cyclist down another snowy road moves. The film always keeps to the associative - and makes visible what escapes the eye otherwise easily: random everyday scenes in the atmospheric of their visual appearance, urban spaces in this case, which are composed to a fragmentary image of a wintry city.

The atmosphere thickens when the snowy Christ Church shows itself in the glare of sunlight and unexpectedly a man crosses the setting in the foreground. He appears again, conversing with other people waiting - the jump from the half-close to the close-up seems to underline its importance. The following pictures are added to the beginning of a story: people waiting on a wall, children come out of the house, accompanied by a nun. The young man picks up his son, as is made clear by a half-close-up, in which both are seen with a bicycle.

The film chooses the documentary images that get their own weight by pointing to what they are showing and just hinting at a story. The colorful colors of the cap and gloves stand out when a woman and her two children are standing in front of the house wall. A scene like from a reportage intervenes when a man with a shovel speaks into the camera. The family film gets its picture when a boy with scooter waits for the signal to start driving. Small everyday stories flash up and yet remain random images, join the picture of a wintry city and can be classified in the advancing time of day. Two women chatting, first in the front door with the yellow frame, then in front of the house by the stairs. The camera's view becomes more noticeable when another woman on the wall of the house looks at the camera with a smile.

This camera view attaches itself to things as phenomena, whether they are spontaneously captured or a claim to design is recognizable. Again and again, the impressions of the winter day show their sensual surplus - and in their perception can become small events. A short amateur film adheres to the authenticity of the documentary, in that the traces of his pictures make a wintry city between everyday life and poetry visible - and lead to the Philippsburg of 1957.

Reiner Bader

Places and monuments


  1. This film analysis is still in progress. It may therefore be incomplete and contain errors.