Film ist.

Gustav Deutsch

Film ist. (1–6), 60 minutes, color, black and white, sound, 16mm

Austria 1998


Film ist. (7–12), 90 minutes, color, black and white, sound, 35mm

Austria 2002


Film ist. a girl & a gun, 93 minutes, color, 35mm

Austria 2009


“From the outset, Deutsch conceived Film ist. as an attempt to define cinema through its own material, with and in the very flesh of images. The filmmaker’s purpose is to discuss film using film, to rely on the expressive possibilities of the medium itself in order to illuminate its mechanisms from within. In this respect, Film ist. can be considered as a methodological and multifaceted cinematic answer to the famous ontological question that French critic André Bazin placed at the center of theoretical discussion in the 1950s. To define cinema by means of its own material is without a doubt a virtually endless enterprise [...]. Elaborated between 1996 and 1998 as the result of extensive research through mostly Austrian and German archives, Film ist. (1–6) principally consists of fragments borrowed from scientific, educational and industrial films, and focuses primarily on cinema as a laboratory invention. Composed between 1999 and 2002, Film ist. (7–12) approaches cinema rather as a popular spectacle and ponders two other birthplaces of the cinematograph: the fairground and the music hall.” (Belloï 2012: 233)

“More recently,  the project was yet again augmented by a thirteen chapter entitled [...] Film ist. a girl & a gun, itself divided into five acts and compounding all kinds of images from the first forty-five years of cinematographic production (including films preserved by the Kinsey Institute for research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction), and punctuated by citations from Hesiod, Plato and Sapppho.” (Belloï 2012: 234)


Gustav Deutsch, born in 1952 in Vienna, Austria; lives in Vienna.



Wilbirg Brainin-Donnenberg and Michael Loebenstein (eds.), Gustav Deutsch (Vienna: Synema, 2009).

Livio Belloï, “Gustav Deutsch, Visual Thinker,” in Film Unframed. A History of Austrian Avant-Garde Cinema, ed. Peter Tscherkassky (Vienna: FilmmuseumSynemaPublikationen, 2012), pp. 233–244.

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