A Dangerous Film - AKOM Ensemble and Niv Evron
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A Dangerous Film is a new film based on the re-editing of newly discovered archival film materials from 1948. The film is based entirely on one 16mm silent film-roll that was recently discovered in Tel Aviv containing several scenes depicting the activities of the Lehi paramilitary underground organisation. The film suffers from severe cellulose nitrate decomposition which make it brittle, discoloured and even turned parts into a brownish powder. These damages mark the passage of 70 years since the images were made cast a poetic point of view on the violent images. After continuous research on the origin of the images I edited them down and started to work closely with a musical composer to create a new musical score that will be tailored for the images and their constant decomposition. It will be recorded this coming February and added to the images.
The project is based on the discovery of one roll of 16mm film recently found in the archive of the Lehi Museum. The 15 minutes long B/W silent film is printed on nitrate based celluloid and contains scenes from early 1948 depicting Lehi members engaging in training, sabotage, covert operations and poster hanging in and surrounding Tel Aviv. The Lehi - a Jewish militant paramilitary group operating in Palestine from 1940 until the foundation of the state of Israel in 1948 (also known as “The Stern Gang”), was a violent and active contributor to the bloodshed that swept the region. Lehi’s main operative was the expulsion of the British Mandate from Palestine and the creation of a nationalistic Jewish state.
These film materials were never shown in public and no other copies are known to exist.
No one knows who filmed the footage or how it got into the hands of the Lehi Museum.
The film footage is in dire state as a result of the decomposition of the nitrate emulsion. They show multiple scratches, breaking up, dislocations, they even contain gas bubbles which give noxious odour. Nitrate based film is an extremely dangerous and unstable medium which can burst into flames unexpectedly, since its emulsion is a chemical variation of nitroglycerine, a major component in gun powder. This unique affinity between the subject matter of the film and the medium itself charges the work with meaning and power.
The film was transferred to digital video and The Lehi exclusively granted me the rights to create a new work using them. Other film materials which were found with that specific roll will be edited down into another film work, since they contain different materials and their condition is much better.
After researching and editing the footage I started to work with Guy Sternberg, an Israeli composer based in Berlin, in the creation of a new musical soundtrack that will accompany the images. The music (in the form a modern classical composition) will be based on the tension between description and noise and will follow the development of the images. After the score will be written, it will be performed by a new musical ensemble of 6 musicians, recorded and mixed down as a new musical piece.”