Daniel Spoerri creates art out of found objects that lose their function as soon as he integrates them into his works. Anja Salomonowitz makes films that are devoted to the visualisation of times and conflicts. THIS MOVIE IS A GIFT stands at the crossroad between both and intertwines their work in a very personal way. The films title already suggests that it does not aim to represent anything, but wants to give: Salomonowitz thanks Spoerri with a portrait that binds his work with objects back to his biography again and again: Spoerri, born Feinstein, is the son of a Romanian Jew who was abducted and murdered. At the same time, the film looks ahead and extends its memory into the future by staging Salomonowitz son Oskar as a stand-in and opposite of Spoerri. Nothing is lost but is merely reassembled in surprising ways.
Dominik Kamalzadeh, Filmjournalist, Vienna
Akin to a part song, Anja Salomonowitzs tender approach to artist Daniel Spoerri is arranged for several voices. The first is the artist himself, a fascinating man of multiple talents. The film mainly focuses on his work with objects, his so-called snare pictures. Those pictures are also the second voice as the film uses them to create an idea of resurrection. Cycles are renewed, life begins again. The third voice belongs to Salomonowitzs dead father and the act of mourning that loss. The fourth voice belongs to her son Oskar, who re-enacts statements by Spoerri. The fifth voice is connected to the pogrom in Romania during World War II. Spoerri, who comes from a Jewish family, lost his father in that time. Largely shot at Spoerris workshop, the film connects all these voices and has them overlap, finding a beautiful way of illustrating both how to reach out and greater selfunderstanding. Resurrection, the film tells us, is possible when one finds a way to accept death. There are films as letters, films as songs, films as poems but one rarely hears about films as being gifts. Salomonowitz gifts us an understanding of how beautiful and necessary it can be to give a film as a present.
Patrick Holzapfel, Viennale, Vienna International Film Festival