circle's short circuit

ORIGINAL VERSION: 84 min.[1998/99, 35mm 1:1,85 /DigiBetacam, Dolby SR]

FLOWER CYCLE VERSION: 50 min. [2003, DVD, stereo]

with John Kelly, Kyle deCamp, Charles Duval, Annie Iobst, Ishmael Houston-Jones, Richard Move, Anastasia Sharp and Avital Ronell

director of photography: James Carman

original music: Hahn Rowe, David Linton, Koosil-ja, Owen o'Toole, Gregore Asch (DJ Olive)

written and directed by: Caspar Stracke

produced by: MMM Filmproduktion / Ulrike Zimmermann, the video kasbah

funded in parts by: Kuratorium Junger Deutscher Film, Hamburger Filmbüro, Filmförderung Hessen, Filmförderung Badem-Württemberg.

sales (Europe): MMM Filmproduktion
Distribution (Europe): Lightcone, Paris

Distribution + Sales (U.S.): Video Data Bank, Chicago

CIRCLE'S SHORT CIRCUIT is a feature length "cinematic installation" with neither a beginning nor an end; it is virtually able to start from any random point. It moves through a circle consisting of five interlocked episodes that describe the phenomenon of interruption in contemporary communications in various forms and modes, investigating its impacts and side-effects. Along the path of this circle the genre changes with each episode: moving from documentary, to essay, to collage, to simulated live-coverage, and to silent film. As this phenomenon of interruption is pervasive in these media itself, the film attends to the very act of watching moving images.
The all connecting center is a documentary segment on the origin of the biggest upheaval in communication history, initiated by the "man who contracted space," Alexander Graham Bell and his invention of the telephone. This episode features an interview with Avital Ronell, a theorist/philosopher who thematically ties up and in between the wires of telephonic circuits and their transcendental counterparts. The film includes homages to the deconstructive tool-maker Jacques Derrida, the French writer Boris Vian and the ghost of the Japanese experimental theater and cinema, Shuji Terayama.


"The stories are neither fact nor fiction. They add up to a film that exemplifies the confusion and excitement implicit not only in a new form of film making, but in the collapse of metaphysical certitudes. The signals getting confused and circuits are blowing, and this tremendously exciting film both embodies the chaos and begins to explain how and why it's there.

Holly Willis, LA Weekly

"This film comes across as documentary, essay, performance art and silent throwback. (complete with intertitles and irises) and the capabilities and rhetoric associated with both computers and VCRs play a part in the continuously shifting and evolving discourse. [...] The circular structure and the continual transformations -a lecture turning into a story, a piece of performance art growing into an essay- kept me mesmerized."

Jonathan Rosenbaum, The Chicago Reader