16mm, transferred to video, 17 min., color, sound.
Camera: Scheugl, Walter Funda, Hannes Zell. Assistence: Ernst Schmidt jr., Peter Weibel, Gottfried Schlemmer. Actors: Anka Zilavsky, Brigitte Stefan, Hans Scheugl, Peter Weibel.
Première: January 26th, 1967 in Vienna.
Digital restoration in 2015.
Militia Early Morning describes opposites that do not abolish each other. A young man is to be killed. He might be dead already or is to be born yet. He is the eternal victim because the past reaches out into the forgetful future. Hitler and Stalin frank the order of his assassination that a pretty girl receives. But he is the perpetrator as well when he accompanies the girl on his motorcycle, cool as a Pulp Fiction Marlon Brando. Also the red-haired girl reveals an uncertain identity. She ties herself up in an empty house as if violence was only an erotic game. The town burns as it sleeps and dreams of its dark past.
Part of the film was shot in a house that in 1966 was still left deserted because its owners had fled to America from the Nazis and had never come back.
The film and the character that accompanied the shooting of Militia Early Morning was Godard’s Pierrot le fou, the private who fought his own Vietnam war.
Hans Scheugl 2015
Militia Early Morning Scheugl’s first and hardly known film revels in an abundance that takes no detour over emptiness. An arsenal of formal elements and practices of montage appreciated by the avant-garde is spead out: the seperation of image and sound, the flickering of short cuts, the artistic grip on the image itself, the fragmentation into narrative particels, the translation from writings into images, the nervous urban view stopped by nothing, the colors loosened from the objects and becoming signs, a system of interruptions and remification that puts linear time out of joint.
The story that composes the film has dismissed classical dramaturgy long ago. It collects observations from the edges of town, shows curiosity for faces and everyday life, intersperes plot elements of intrigue and poaches in pop culture. In this film Scheugl is not a noble dogmatist of form and material but rather a player of time for whom film is a reservoir of cruises and reconnaissance.
Dexterously Scheugl changes the registers from tentative discovery to violent shock, from open space to arranged pose. Ficition is for him not the look that infects objects but rather a model for the insight that reveals reality.
Elisabeth Büttner 2012
Distributed by: sixpackfilm, Vienna (DCP)