★ by Johann Lurf

★ by Johann Lurf

Available Space is a recurring series showcasing experimental and independent film and media, including artist retrospectives, historical and contemporary films, expanded cinema performance, special guest events, and restorations from international archives, as well as our own Academy Film Archive.

A one-of-a-kind cinematic experience, Vienna-based filmmaker Johann Lurf’s ★ is quite literally the ultimate cosmic trip through the entire history of cinema. 

Drawing on extensive clips from countless films throughout the history of motion pictures, Lurf constructs an epic chronological assembly of sequences of the starry sky from the very beginning of cinema up to the present year (the film is updated annually). Each clip retains its original accompanying audio, resulting in an exhilarating experience that is at turns hypnotic, defining, and perversely comic. Lurf positions the audience as the ever-dreaming stargazers, while also celebrating the illusionism of cinema; we never quite forget that we are witnessing a sped-up history of not just motion picture technological development, but also the modern evolution of humanity’s relationship to the magnitude of space. The night sky as depicted throughout cinema is both intimate and unimaginably vast, and Lurf’s magnificent film is a brilliantly immersive and self-aware tribute to both of those grand emotional scales of cinematic engagement. 

The 2022 edition of ★ will be preceded by Lurf’s short film Twelve Tales Told, in which he interweaves a dozen major studio logos to create a cinematic time-sculpture celebrating and satirizing the epic-scale branding of industrial cinema. 

In person: Johann Lurf 

Programmed and notes by Academy Film Archive Senior Film Preservationist Mark Toscano   

Films courtesy of the artist. Thanks to the Austrian Consulate General in Los Angeles and California Institute of the Arts for their support to have Johann Lurf join us in person for this program.

Twelve Tales Told 
Director: Johann Lurf. 
2014. 4 min. Austria. Color. Sound. 35mm. 

Director: Johann Lurf. 
2017/2022. 125 min. Austria. B&W and Color. Multiple languages (deliberately unsubtitled). 4K DCP. 

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