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Dieter Brehm’s ‘Murder Mystery’

Bert Olivier


During this session African filmmakers and audiences are exposed to rare titles from the international experimental / avant-garde film tradition, as well as to informal but structured discussion from the perspective of a local academic / intellectual. This year, South African philosopher of film – Bert Olivier – will bring the resources of philosophy to bear on Dietmar Brehm’s The Murder Mystery.

The discussion will be a dialogic exploration of (rather than philosophical imposition onto) the “enigma of perception” at the heart of Brehm’s underground “psychothriller”. The screening will include a short interview with the filmmaker recorded in 2000. The discussion will be led by Jan Koster, Head of Film Theory at The Open Window Department of Film Arts.


Austria, 1987 | 1992 | 16 min | dir: Dietmar Brehm

A superlatively crafted film which uses the psychology of sight deprivation to keep the viewer in suspense: you are allowed only the merest glimpses of what is really going on. The cumulative effect as a mental picture starts to grow, is at once titillating and disturbing. Director Dietmar Brehm knows exactly how to tempt our darker desires.

The Murder Mystery, which contains both shots by Brehm and footage from fiction, documentary and pornographic films, provides a good example of Brehm’s method. By means of visual particles reminiscent of crime and horror films the “exposition” of a corresponding “text” is set in motion in the viewer’s head.

Review by Gottfried Schlemmer.

DIETMAR BREHM is a multi-award-winning draftsman, painter, photographer, filmmaker, and university professor that works in Linz, Austria where he was born in 1947. Since 1974 he has produced close on 200 short films / videos – almost always on his own, often constructed out of found-footage, particularly receptive to the creative role of chance and oversight, and widely screened (about 1000 exhibitions) at home and abroad.

Courtesy of The DANISH EMBASSY of South Africa

FRIDAY - 16:00

BERT OLIVIER is Professor of Philosophy at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth. He holds an M.A. and D.Phil in Philosophy, has held Postdoctoral Fellowships in Philosophy at Yale University in the USA on more than one occasion, and has held a Research Fellowship at The University of Wales, Cardiff. At NMMU he teaches various sub-disciplines of philosophy, as well as film studies, media and architectural theory, and psychoanalytic theory.

He has published widely in the philosophy of culture, of art and architecture, of cinema, music and literature, as well as the philosophy of science, epistemology, psychoanalytic, social, media and discourse-theory.

Mr Olivier’s accommodation is sponsored by Irene Stone Cottage.

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