The above is an excerpt of Max Hattler's abstract political short film Spin (2010).
Catch the full version at film festivals.
Complete credits, awards and screening history: maxhattler.com/spin
"Max Hattler makes mandalas out of cultural fodder. In this short, a legion of soldiers get the Busby Berkeley treatment, turning war into a tragic musical." San Francisco International Film Festival 2010
"The development of Spin has led to Hattler researching political parades and mass rallies, alongside kaleidoscopic Hollywood dance routines: ‘I’ve been looking at work by Leni Riefenstahl, and the escapist vision of Busby Berkeley. I’ve also been considering Fordism and the division of labour, where individuals create a bigger pattern. I’m interested in the human as ornament. What happens when you replicate a figure a million times?’ With this correlation of dance troupes and military troops, Spin presents a constantly self-replenishing supply of plastic toy soldiers, whose uniform movements shift from dizzying eye-candy patterns into increasingly threatening displays, all to a soundtrack of 1940s big band music." Kate Taylor, Electric Sheep, 2009
"Spin is synchronised swimming for toy soldiers. Aficionados of plastic infantrymen will recognise them almost instantly, and while they've here been rendered such that they can move their limbs, some positional changes see them swapped for another. Here, they are green and black, the living-room invading menace of the tan toy soldiers perhaps being left for a sequel. The sometimes jaunty music from Eclectic works well with Max Hattler's visuals, all creating an entertaining spectacle. It's dark in places, intentionally so, and that's also to the credit of those involved. Perhaps the only note is that among the various GIs and Wehrmacht are some soldiers that appear in fact to be a police SWAT team - what one suspects is actually a battering ram is treated as if it were a giant Roman candle. That may be an artifact of childhood imagination, however, and given how many bricks substituted for firearms before Lego, if you will, bit the bullet, it's totally forgiveable. Watching Spin does in some ways recall the pageantry of fascism, the Nuhremberg rallies and North Korean stadium displays, though again that's an important element - divorced of ideology such efforts still glorify something, and the very notion of a toy soldier raises all sorts of questions. Spin doesn't attempt to answer any of them, nor should it - sometimes the mere act of asking questions is enough, and Spin manages that amply." Andrew Robertson, Eye For Film, 2010Cast: Max Hattler, Noriko Okaku, Millax firoozian, rodrigo vives, Enrik Pavdeja, shwizzle and Autour de MinuitTags: spin, busby berkeley, max hattler, autour de minuit, toy soldiers, abstract, animation, nicolas schmerkin, war, musical, parades, political, motion, media art, video art, graphic, kaleidoscope and synchronized