Ernie Gehr b. 1943
Signal - Germany on the Air (1985)
(1982-85); 16mm, color, sound, 37 minutes
"The artifice of the film image stands in stark contrast to the 'reality' of the scene-one is highly conscious of the frame outlines-of what's in and what's out. The color is almost always 'unreal' -some artifact of photographic depiction. The spaces and sounds between, behind, and above the image comes through, we fill out the scene. The mind permeates the space and we become highly aware of the processes used for this inspection. While watching you become aware of your own space, your own patterns of movement. Common ground and individual experience are the poles here, and the active mind shuttles between them in the duration. The recalcitrant world, once it is depicted and articulated, can be peeled back like an onion, revealing constituent layers. In Signal-Germany on the Air it is history that's in the air, behind the mask of every face, every facade, every street sign." -Daniel Eisenberg, "Some Notes on the Films of Ernie Gehr"
"A long sequence at the end of Signal was shot in the rain. This is almost comforting. The subdued colors of an overcast day seem more appropriate than the bright, saturated colors of the storefronts earlier in the film. It seems for a while as though the rain can wash away all traces of the past. But, when a bright orange flare-out signals both the end of a camera roll and the end of the film, the steady hiss of the rain reveals itself as the end of a conflagration." -Harvey Nosowitz in Film Quarterly