- Matthias Muller |
- 1998 |
- 15 minutes |
- COLOR |
Rental Format(s): 16mm / Digital File
sound/music: Dirk Schaefer
"In its relentless looking back on the past and its inability to envision a future, VACANCY is the quintessential millennial film. A shot of particularly long duration features more than a dozen labourers washing a concrete wall which supports a highway overpass. This image is punctuated by a quick archival shot of the wall in its original pristine state. Misguided notions of progress have given way to pointless rovings and meaningless activities. The city is empty, its inhabitants gone, and yet we continue to prop up its corpse."
- Scott McLeod, "The Shape of a particular Death: Matthias Müller's Vacancy", in: LUX - A Decade of Artists' Film and Video, Toronto
"Although most of the works in Manifesta 3 dealt with sociopolitical issues, some did so more obliquely than others. Matthias Müller's exploration of Brasília's past and present (Vacancy, 1998) used subtle, almost impressionistic editing techniques, such as slow pans, and oversaturated colours. By turning the individual's isolation in the city into a medium for addressing the failure of all utopias, Müller also manages to convey the nearly irresistible lure of absolute social control."
- Dan Cameron, Artforum, New York, December, 2000
"Watching Matthias Müller's 14-minute film VACANCY is to be sucked into a narrative worthy of Andrei Tarkovsky's great and greatly mysterious film, Stalker. Within moments, we are tracking Brasília in search of its fugitive meaning. (...)"
- Jay Merrick, "A tale of two model cities", The Independent, London, 2001
"Matthias Müller uses found footage to construct unconventional narratives. His short film VACANCY is an exploration of memory and loss through the utopian vision of Brasilia. Müller takes home-movies of inauguration day and subjects them to a unique visual style. Ageing film-stock flickers and fades generating an aura of ambient romanticism. As the clouds gather over Niemeyer's space-age architecture, Müller conjures up a feeling of profound melancholy - the identity of the poet narrator blurred into the exquisite corpse of the city itself. 'I have become empty. I am a stranger to others and myself. I am a carbon copy of my form.' In Müller's film, documentary footage dissolves into a 'Kodak moment' of another kind."
- Gregor Muir, Flash Art, 2002
Awards: Main Award, International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, 1999; Award of the Association of German Film Critics for the best sound design, 1999; 1st Prize, Viper Festival for Film, Video and New Media, Lucerne, 1999; Prix Spécial, Côte court, Paris-Pantin, 1999; 3rd Prize, Hamburg International Short Film Festival, 1999; Award of the Youth Jury, International Leipzig Festival of Documentary and Animated Film, 1999; Distinction "recommended", German Commission of Valuation, 1998; Nominated for the European Film Award, 1999; Rated 4th Best Film of the Year by Jit Phokaew, Senses of Cinema