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Frith, Fred / Humbert, Nicolas / Penzel, Werner
Middle of the Moment [DVD]

Frith, Fred / Humbert, Nicolas / Penzel, Werner: Middle of the Moment [DVD] (Winter & Winter)
Label: Winter & Winter    
Released in: Germany    

This award winning film by Nicolas Humbert and Werner Penzel is sub-titled "A cinepoem about nomadic life." Featuring the beautiful music of Fred Frith, the film is described as follows:

"The essence of any experience, any moment, is to be found where people are in most intense contact with the place they occupy. And paradoxically, it is through a nomadic existence that one occupies a space the most intensely. Whether the nature of this nomadism is largely physical, as for the wandering tribes that travel the South Sahara and Cirque O - or rather abstract, as for the American philosopher and poet Robert Lax, is not so important. What the people portrayed in this documentary share is that their nomadic disposition, which strips life down to its bare essentials, makes them into complete centered human beings. They are not stuck in life's cycles but are co-existing with them, partaking in them with a freedom that is unknown to most of us.

Film makers Nicolas Humbert and Werner Penzel traveled through Europe and Africa with these very different nomads for around three years. Resisting the lure of nostalgia of any kind they have created a film form, a cinepoem as they call it, in which the freedom of the nomadic life resonates from each individual shot as well as from the film as a whole. Far from being a simple comparative study of nomadic lifestyles, middle of the moment is a nomadic adventure itself. It is lyrical in mood but goes beyond the merely admirable in its associations. It is not afraid to stay in one place, but also knows how to travel on to the next. The film makers have used their equipment and findings as imaginatively as the nomads they met use theirs, in their daily lives.

Middle of the moment becomes a journey into the most elementary cycles of life though it never pretends to witness their closure. Its framing rules out any generalization; what we see is appreciation of personality and detail. Fred Frith's music for the film wonderfully translates this sense of the constant movement of things. Far removed though we may be from an itinerant way of life, which forms a cycle in itself, we are still sensitive to the images that depict life in terms of its archetypal circles: sitting around the fire, life in a community, the sharing of food from one cup, the meeting of old acquaintances, the arena of the circus, the beginning of a life and the approaching end, which only reveals itself at a moment where one cannot speak about it anymore.

It would seem that the more sensitive we are, the further we can travel in middle of the moment."-Miriam van Leer

Winner of:

Prix la Sarraz for Innovative Cinema, Switzerland 1995
Filmfestival Florence, Grand Prix, Best Documentary, Italy 1995
Filmfestival Marseille, Prix du Public, France 1995
Filmfestival Karlovy Vary, Diploma of Merit, Czech Republic 1995
Filmfestival Mediawave Györ, Best Cinematography, Hungary 1995
Hessian Filmaward, Best Documentary, Germany 1995

NTSC Region 1 black & white from 35mm footage, 16:9, Dolby SR; English with subtitled in French, German, Japanese, Portugese, Spanish

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Related Categories of Interest:

Frith, Fred
March 2007

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Product Information:

NTSC Region 1 black & white from 35mm footage, 16:9, Dolby SR; English with subtitled in French, German, Japanese, Portugese, Spanish

Label: Winter & Winter
Catalog ID: DVD915002
Squidco Product Code: 6043

Format: DVD
Condition: New
Released: 2003
Country: Germany
Packaging: DVD in a heavy cardstock case
Produced in the years 1991 through 1995


Cast: Johann le Guillerm, Sandra M'Bow, Robert Lax, Aghali Ag Rhissa, Mutu Walat Rhabidine, Amoumoun, the artists of Cirque O, the members of the Tuareg-tribes Kel Iforas, Kel Wedegui and others

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Track Listing:

Middle of the Moment (76 minutes)

Two previously unreleased bonus tracks:

Fragments d'ici with Johann le Guillerm (24 minutes)

My eye your eye with Robert Lax (18 minutes)