Marek Ther 2010, video, 12 min
As is common for the work of Mark Ther, his latest “videofilm” titled The Villa? presents a spectacular but this time exceptionally impressive and intimate sketch with a strong sexual and existential subtext. In terms of subject matter, The Villa? reflects some of Ther’s earlier work exploring questions of gender (a dominant theme for Ther) and an equally frequent subject in his work: the interwar and postwar period in the Sudetenland, which forms the aesthetic and semantic backdrop for many of his films. Thanks to its historical context, the landscape of the Czech-German borderlands where Ther grew up is an important semantic element in and of itself. In Ther’s work, it represents the repressed and somewhat unwanted level of our subconscious that has long been an integral part of our personal and collective identities.
The film, shot out of focus, is not only foggy like a memory, but is also constructed like one: it presents mostly impressions and fragments of scenes, but not complete events or conversations. Although it is a fake memory (someone else’s and fictional), it makes use of a visual construction that resembles the mechanisms of personal memories (one subject, extremely long close-up shots of the surrounding scene, an emphasis on sensory perceptions) and evokes very real emotions.