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This remarkable film by Harun Farocki is a powerful essay and commentary on contemporary life. It compares the still-life paintings of the Dutch masters with the still-lifes of today: Photographs for advertisements for cheese, beer and watches. Using behind-the-scenes glimpses of modern advertising offices, where employees toil at the proper placement of objects for maximum sales effect, Farocki presents a vision of our reality in which objects bear witness to their producers. In his commentary, Farocki, who earned money to finance the work by taking on commercial photo shoots, acknowledges the need for artistic compromise while de-mythologizing the creative process. In doing so, he challenges conventional ways of seeing and our perceptions of what is art. In German with English subtitles.

Harun Farocki---Germany---1997---56 mins.