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April 22, 2010 10:27 PM   Subscribe

In 1957, Peter Kubelka was hired to make a short commercial for Scwechater beer. (Previously)
posted by Minus215Cee (27 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
"Guinness gets you drunk" is pretty short.
posted by doctor_negative at 10:57 PM on April 22, 2010

Excellent. I hope this got played on TV.
posted by idiopath at 11:44 PM on April 22, 2010

Oh god, Schwechater.
It's certainly no Natty Ice, but Schwechater was just... cheap and not very nice to drink.
Stiegl was far, far better. And their Radler was phenomenal.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:06 AM on April 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

I would would run to buy any product made by a company with balls enough to run an ad like this.
posted by Alex404 at 12:59 AM on April 23, 2010

an ad like this

..and what was that? Was that suppose to be incomprehensible, or does the fault lie with me?
posted by JeNeSaisQuoi at 3:17 AM on April 23, 2010


posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:07 AM on April 23, 2010 [2 favorites]

Thanks so much for posting this. About thirty years ago, when I was a pretentious undergraduate film geek, our film society showed a lot of Kubelka's work.

Unsere Afrikareise was one of my favorite films of all time. It, too, was a commissioned film. A group of German tourists asked Kubelka to document their African safari. According to Jonas Mekas, the 12 and a half minute film was five years in the making and was the result of Kubelka's learning by heart 14 hours of tapes and 3 hours of film, frame by frame. Mekas called it, "One of cinema's few masterpieces and a work of such great perfection that it forces one to re-evaluate everything that one knew about the cinema."

It never occurred to me that it would be available on You Tube. I really wondered if I would ever see it again.
posted by pasici at 4:40 AM on April 23, 2010 [6 favorites]

Right on, pasici. Unsere Arikareise is a pretty extraordinary film. I was lucky enough to see it on 35mm a few years ago, at a screening attended by Kubelka himself. (I met him!)

It is very surprising - and surely highly illegal - that Kubelka's films are online, because he's been very outspoken about the fact that he believes they should only ever be screened in their original formats (i.e., 35mm or 16mm). As I understand it, this is why there have never been licit video versions of any of his work -- he's never sanctioned such things. So these are probably uploaded without the filmmaker's knowledge; or perhaps his financial situation is such that he can't do much about it. (Avant-garde filmmakers usually don't get rich by making avant-garde films, though a good many of them were rich to begin with!)

Still, it is kind of awesome that several of his films are available online. That fact allows me to show a brief clip from Arnulf Rainer in the film classes that I teach. Though seeing it on YouTube is nowhere near as powerful - and, frankly, moving - as seeing it in the original 35mm (truly, that was one of the great viewing experiences of my life), it STILL has the power to absolutely confound my students. They simply cannot get it. Which is great!

He's a great filmmaker - thanks for making this post, Minus215Cee!
posted by Dr. Wu at 4:53 AM on April 23, 2010 [2 favorites]

Nice! I'd never seen this before. That's a really daring spot. Other than the lack of, y'know, brand identification (unless it's hidden in the leader text...I'll have to go back and look) It's pretty cool.

Youngsters here most likely have no idea of what the television viewing experience could be like way back then. The "experience" was not limited to the programs. The experience also included the actual broadcast and reception...snow, ghosting, interchannel drift, picture rolling, and all sorts of other odd reception and display peculiarities. These things were facts of life in tv viewing. You were more in-touch with those waveforms flying around in the air.

Looking back fondly on those days, I could easily see someone viewing this commercial and thinking the tv was acting-up again...or @$%*% Channel 4 has a crappy signal...or whatever. I'm not saying that was Kubelka's intent, mind you. I am saying that, back then, that would be a good CD's rationale for this approach. It would have been interesting to have seen this spot ON a tv back then, with all the typical OTA distortion added-in.

But it still lacked any obvious branding.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:55 AM on April 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

dunkadunc knows a bit about Austrian beers. Schwechater's close to the end of my list of beers available in Austria.

Stiegl's much better, and there are quite a few other Austrian beers that are a-ok: Murauer, Zwettler, Villacher, Gösser, Schladminger, Puntigamer, Weitra.

My advice is to avoid Schwechater, Hirter, Wieselburger, Kaiser, Egger and Zipfer.

Nice find, Minus215Cee...
posted by syzygy at 5:04 AM on April 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

I rather enjoyed it as a short piece of experimental film. I must say though, it didn't make me thirsty.
posted by Aversion Therapy at 5:40 AM on April 23, 2010

I love Vienna-style lager.

That is all.
posted by slogger at 6:32 AM on April 23, 2010

pizza, beer and cheese appear to be mefi's current ruling triumvirate. bacon weeps.
posted by caddis at 7:36 AM on April 23, 2010

I was imagining something along the lines of Rejected, but it's more than that. Thanks!
posted by filthy light thief at 7:39 AM on April 23, 2010

I think the link is wrong as all it seems to show is the leader.
posted by bz at 8:08 AM on April 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Why would they hire him to do a beer ad? Was this done with the understanding that the end product would be unusable? Was this a pet project of the company/owner?
posted by seventyfour at 8:24 AM on April 23, 2010

(Unusable as an effective advertisement for beer) (Effective meaning sells beer)
posted by seventyfour at 8:28 AM on April 23, 2010

It's actually a lot like several products from the National Film Board of Canada's animator, Norman McLaren, just without the creativity, imagination, pacing, artistry, editing, brilliant application of music, adherence to theme and much more recognizable social relevance of a typical McLaren animation. But other than that, the work is identical.
posted by Mike D at 8:47 AM on April 23, 2010

Mike D: that's like calling Stockhausen a talentless ripoff of the Beatles.
posted by idiopath at 8:52 AM on April 23, 2010

Or maybe calling Beckett a low rent Steinbeck ripoff.
posted by idiopath at 8:56 AM on April 23, 2010

Ahhhhh the crisp taste of an ecstasy & LSD cocktail served unfiltered to add to its characteristic crazy-making
posted by Juicy Avenger at 11:56 AM on April 23, 2010

Oy. Having projected this on 35mm before, it's almost painful to see it looking so bad on YouTube, with all the weird rainbow ghosting and things.

All of Kubelka's films are available for rental from the Filmmaker's Co-op in New York on 16mm and/or 35mm - Scwechater will run you $30 (16mm) or $50 (35mm).
posted by bubukaba at 1:15 PM on April 23, 2010 [2 favorites]

I came in here to mention the African safari "home movie," but I see we have that covered. Kubelka is a formalist, along the lines of Webern in music. He mentioned about this piece, and a few others, that every image appears, in total, an equal amount of time as a positive and a negative. This means that if the whole film is summed up, the result is a uniform gray.
posted by StickyCarpet at 1:30 PM on April 23, 2010

Since copyrights are also being discussed today, here's a good one: He has a film of laundry hanging in the wind, and it is set to, I believe, Bach's Mass in B Minor, on a Deutsch Gramophone recording.

To get the rights to the music, he wrote the record company on elementary school lined paper, in crayon, saying: "My teacher says I need permission to use this music for my class project, is that OK, thanks, Petey K." And they wrote back, "Sure, kid."
posted by StickyCarpet at 1:39 PM on April 23, 2010 [6 favorites]

Mike D: I looked at those McLaren films you posted. Forgive me for saying this, but if all the film-makers listed just in this thread were, say, the New Mutants, McLaren would be Cypher.

flt: Rejected might be my favorite animated short of all time.

posted by Minus215Cee at 1:47 PM on April 23, 2010

This was awesome. Thanks for sharing it.
posted by Señor Pantalones at 10:32 PM on April 23, 2010

Yeah, thanks. I smiled all the way through.
posted by Wolof at 7:52 AM on April 24, 2010

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