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March 14th–20th, 2016 / Cinema Muzeul Țăranului, Cinema Elvire Popesco, Universitatea Națională de Muzică / the 6th edition

THE BREATH

Directed by: 
FABIAN KAISER
11'
Cinema Elvire Popesco - Tuesday, March 15, 2016 - 18:00
Cinema Muzeul Țăranului - Friday, March 18, 2016 - 20:30
Written by: 
Fabian Kaiser
Cast: 
Ueli Alder, Alireza Bayram, Sawas Wassiliadis, Matthias Hungerbühler, David Flury, Ralf Frehner
Cinematography: 
Kevin Rodriguez
Editing: 
Fabienne Andreoli
Sound: 
Remie Blaser, Can Isik
Producer: 
Filippo Bonacci
Romanian Premiere
With the support of

Winner of the Vienna Short Film Award, Fabian Kaiser’s The Breath offers an entrancing, original look at the fortitude of society’s unsung hero of safety, the firefighter. Heavy on atmosphere and free of dialogue, Kaiser’s hybrid documentary observes a group of firemen as they go about their exercise drills, decked out in recognizable orange suits and hermetically sealed oxygen helmets. Their mechanical movement, assured in its steps and slowed by the weight of their gear, expresses steadfast confidence, but the eyes of their superior hides human fallibility. When it’s his turn to don the mask, he proceeds down a labyrinthian passageway, on a rite of passage into fear and the unknown. With bated breath we witness his transcendence and inevitable return to our material world, cleansing himself for the next day to come. (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF)
Director: 

Peter Tscherkassky

Born in 1986, Fabian Kaiser grew up in Eastern Switzerland and worked Summer Series Filmmakers several years as a graphic designer. He graduated in film from the Zurich University of the Arts (Z HdK) and is in his Master studies in film editing. His filmography includes Kaisers gute Karten (2013), Selecteur (2011), Festgenossen (2009).

Contact: 
fabian.kaiser[at]zhdk[dot]ch
Festivals, awards: 
  • Vienna Short Film Award - Vienna Independent Shorts 2015
  • IDFA International Documentary Festival Amsterdam 2014
  • Festival dei Popoli, Firenze 2014
  • Rio de Janeiro International Short Film Festival 2014
  • International Short Film Festival Winterthur 2014
  • DOK Fest 2015
  • Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival 2015
  • Astoria Film Festiva, New York 2015
Curatorial comment:
In an unreal, abstract environment, safely wrapped-up members of the voluntary fire department train for the moment they are called out. On treadmills and moving ladders in a concrete cellar, men wearing orange suits and oxygen tanks work on their condition in a kind of silent ballet, the silence punctuated only by their rhythmic breathing. In the factory building where a fire is raging it is dark – there are flashes of light, and a fire glows in the distance. The firefighters move slowly, like Martians across unknown terrain. All they can hear is their own breathing, and their fear becomes palpable. Does the suit offer sufficient protection? How heavy are those oxygen tanks? Above the monitors in the control room, all that can be seen are the peering eyes of an officer following the maneuvers on flickering screens. It is only when the big helmets have been removed and the whole team is standing in the shower that their vulnerability becomes visible: the anonymous suits become flesh-and-blood people. This oppressive, silent visual poem is an illustration of the sensory experience of firefighting. With limited vision, little freedom of movement and danger lurking around every corner, the rhythm of the breathing apparatus is all that counts. (IDFA 2014)