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Givan Lötz and A Hollow in the Land


Germany/France | 1932, 73 min | dir: Carl Theodor Dreyer

With Vampyr, Danish filmmaker Carl Theodor Dreyer’s brilliance at achieving mesmerizing atmosphere and austere, profoundly unsettling imagery (The Passion of Joan of Arc and Day of Wrath) was applied to the horror genre.

Yet the results concerning an occult student assailed by various supernatural haunts and local evildoers in a village outside Paris is nearly unclassifiable. A host of stunning camera and editing tricks create a mood of dreamlike terror.

With its rolling fogs, ominous scythes, and foreboding visual echoes, Vampyr is one of cinema’s great nightmares. The film opens on a thin, dreamy, young occult enthusiast, Allan Gray. He checks in to a creepy hotel and goes to bed. An old man enters his room and warns him that, "she must not die." The old man leaves a package "to be opened after my death." Gray gets out of bed and experiences a series of strange events.

He sees shadows of a man with a peg leg (the shadow finds its owner and rejoins it). He meets an old man with a mustache who asks, "Do you hear that?" Gray replies that he hears children. The old man tells him with a sinister stare that there are no children here. Like David Lynch or Luis Bunuel, Dreyer is one of the few filmmakers who can capture the elusive, intangible feel of a fleeting dream.

Carl Dreyer, with cinematographer Rudolph Maté, creates some trick shots that have been imitated many times over the years, and some atmospheric shots that have yet to be duplicated. Vampyr is accompanied by an original live music composition and performance by South African artists A Hollow in the Land and Givan Lötz.

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GIVAN LÖTZ is a multidisciplinary sound and image artist. He can be found stretching, subverting and reassembling our understanding of the creative arts. He currently lives and works in Johannesburg.

A HOLLOW IN THE LAND are husband and wife team Jacob van der Westhuizen (also known as experimental musican Jacob Israel) and Ola Kobak (the leading member of Folktronica act ‘Fulka’). They currently reside in Pretoria, South Africa, and work from their studio, Benjamin.

“A Hollow in the Land melds natural human darkness and the scattered remains of a deconstructing future into a soft and glorious lullaby.” - Rolling Stone, South Africa.

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