I first came across the film "Dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y”, made by Johan Grimonprez in 1997, at the Who If Not We… exhibition at the Stedelijk Muesum, Amsterdam, in 2004.
The 70-minute film explores the history and media representations of the plane hijack attempts of the last few decades, using archival news footage, documentaries, advertisements and propaganda, and the writings of US author Don DeLillo.
The inserted footage portrays an alternative reality - one that differs from our own – and behind their false objectivity the real intentions of the chroniclers of these times emerges.
The images reveal the apparently epic collision between flight, which was still regarded as a luxury in the 1960s and 70s, fear, material interests, and higher values.
Because of its impartiality (representing as it does intentions to deform society as the power vectors of a physical model), the film, which uses "recycled" material, can be interesting and inspiring for Hungarian artists and "activists", or for all who would be unhappy to see any of the intentions coming to the fore as a pretext for achieving balance.
Buckle up for dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y, the acclaimed hijacking documentary that eerily foreshadowed 9-11. We meet the romantic skyjackers who fought their revolutions and won airtime on the passenger planes on the 1960s. By the 1990s, such characters apparently are no more, replaced on our TV screens by stories of statesponsored suitcase bombs.
Director Johan Grimonprez investigates the politics behind this change, at the same time unwrapping our own complicity in the urge for ultimate disaster. Playing on the De Lillo's riff in the novel Mao II: ' what terrorists gain, novelists lose' and 'home is a failed idea', he blends archive hijackings with surreal and banal themes including fast food, pet statistics, disco and his quirky home movies. David Shea wrote the superb soundtrack to this rollercoaster through history, best described in the words of one hijacked Pepsi executive as: 'running the gamut of many emotions: from surprise to shock, to fear, to joy, to laughter and again, fear.' (argos editions)
The film can also be seen until February 28 after appointment in the tranzit. hu office,
1024 Ezredes u. 13.
tel: 36 30 525 5663