Camera Buff

Saturday, March 8th 2008 at 18h00
L’Entrepôt Paris


Camera Buff (Amator)

(Feature film, Poland, 1979, 112’, Color, OVFST)

Directed by: Krzysztof Kieslowski

With : Jerzy Stuhr,  Jerzy Nowak,  Boguslaw Sobczuk…
Produced by : Film Polski (Warsaw)


Synopsis :
Filip, a factory worker who, after the birth of his first child, buys an 8mm movie camera to record his daughter's first few years on film. Before long, Filip is happily obsessed with his new hobby, and he graduates from simply capturing his daughter's activities to photographing practically everything around him.

Critique :
"Camera Buff" is Krzysztof Kieslowski's tragi-comic meditation on filmmaking. Self-reflexive by nature, this fictional film about a documentary filmmaker is commonly referred to as a watershed in Kieslowski's transition from documentary to fiction filmmaking. "I'm frightened of real tears," Kieslowski once said. "In fact, I don't even know if I have the right to photograph them."

This ethical question becomes the epicenter of the life of Filip Mosz, the main character in "Camera Buff". Happily married and economically stable, the film's humble hero buys an 8mm film camera with the intention of filming his newborn child--and capturing the moment of attainment of a lifelong dream. But when a powerhouse director of the town's local factory recruits him to film an important board meeting, Filip's fascination with the medium grows into passionate dedication. At the command of a larger film unit and networking to enrich his career, Filip eventually reaches an irreconcilable deadlock with his wife, friends and the director who previously supported his cinematic ambitions.
"Camera Buff" mirrors Kieslowski's complex relationship with "reality" and its possible representations. Through Filip's often comic need to capture "life as it is," Kieslowski denounces the myth of objectivity at the base of cinema verite. More than implying that there is no engagement with reality that can leave it untouched, Kieslowski suggests that the very act of seeing is in itself a moment of creation.
Jonathan Rosenbaum