review by G. Winkelmann Jr. 6 April 2012


The immediate impression I get from the stills and framework of the opening credits sequence is a sense of esoteric and surreal. It feels very abstract and tormented, with a sense of detachment purposefully made from reality in order to best put the protagonist(s) on a pedestal. This method you've introduced works very well, and only a few minutes into "The Painstaking Cycle" does its name begin to make sense to me already.

By the second part it occurs to me that the tormented feel vibrating around the project, the surreal dancing, the letter in the introduction and the artwork showcases, directly, that there is something very wrong with our protagonist. The clock flying by indicates to me some kind of prison in his mind, he seems to be playing--constantly--for a tremendous amount of time. His emotions change during these, and the intonations of the music rapidly go sadder or more sinister. To me, it seems like our character here is trapped to play forever perhaps. That is my first impression. I am now about to finish part 2, and my concluding thoughts with part 2 are that the framework for the videos is starting to resemble, perhaps, a pocket watch, emblem, mirror or even perhaps a memento or locket. Someone obviously cherishes our tormented musician, perhaps the very person "watching" him play.

I admit that most of the dialog is lost to me due to my English speaking but I am still able to pick up on all the essential themes and frames you've built here. Perhaps it seems that our musician will only stop playing once the audience understands what it is, or why it is, he is playing in the first place, no? I feel that his fate is tied directly to that muse. Indeed, the symbiotic relationship he has with the viewer is what keeps him alive, but it may actually be such as a weed starving a flower. You've built some fascinating moral and literal and philisophical themes here. I am very happy to say they are the most profoundly well thought out and directed abstract themes I have seen in a long, long time.

The work is marvelous and you should be proud of what you've accomplished here. You've created a perfect metaphor and carrying resonance of the pain of music, the themes of mortality and the mental prisons that can sometimes entrap us all. His bond with the characters, and the audience, and his need for one to understand is a perfect contrast to our real life needs for that, for people to understand what it is we do. I feel that you've made his torment seem so esoteric and foreign to the viewer as to show, in example, how ignorant people can be, and how quick to judge what they don't understand. I am happy to say, or at least to hope to say, that I understand what it is that the Painstaking Cycle is about. It is a crease in time, a vapor of water in an ocean of magnitude. It is about the need for understanding, control, peace and consistnecy in life, and of the true torment of creative and musical expression that can haunt us all.

THE PAINSTAKING CYCLE can be viewed below :








May 2008 Nachtschimmen Music-Theatre-Language Nightshades, Ghent (Belgium)
Send mail to zachar@nachtschimmen.eu with questions or comments about this website.

Last modified:
May 30, 2013