Interweaving Realities: Spoken Language and Moving Images in the Sonne halt!, Experimental Film by Ferry Radax

Luka Bešlagić


This paper analyses the experimental film Sonne halt! by Ferry Radax, an Austrian filmmaker renowned for his unconventional approach to cinematic practice. Filmed and edited between the end of the 1950s and early 1960s, the film at first may appear to be a belated homage to the previous European experiments in avant-garde cinema, already carried out a few decades earlier. However, since there have been no great ‘historical avant-garde’ movements in Vienna in the period between the two world wars – according to the novel argument made by Klaus Kastberger – it was already the middle of the 20th century when the ‘original’ avant-garde strategies were finally acknowledged in Austria, and simultaneously appropriated by the ‘neo-avant-garde’. In this peculiar historico-cultural context Sonne halt!, in its fragmentary non-narrative structure which resembles Dadaist or Surrealist playfulness and openness, innovatively and radically interweaved two disparate film registers: moving image and spoken language. Various sentences arbitrarily enounced throughout the film – which have their origin in Konrad Bayer’s unfinished experimental, pseudo-autobiographical, montage novel der sechste sinn – do not constitute dialogues or narration of a traditional movie script but rather a random collection of fictional and philosophical statements. At certain moments there is a lack of rapport between moving image and speech – an experimental attempt by Ferry Radax to challenge one of the most common principles of sound and narrative cinema. By deconstructing Sonne halt! to its linguistic and cinematic aspects, this article particularly focuses on the role of verbal commentaries within the film.


Article received: December 28, 2017; Article accepted: January 10, 2018; Published online: April 15, 2018; Original scholarly paper


How to cite this article: Bešlagić, Luka. "Interweaving Realities: Spoken Language and Moving Images in the Sonne halt!, Experimental Film by Ferry Radax." AM Journal of Art and Media Studies 15 (2018): 35–45. doi: 10.25038/am.v0i15.228


Ferry Radax; Sonne halt! [Sun Stop!, 1959–1962]; experimental film; Konrad Bayer; der sechste sinn [the sixth sense, 1966]; Austrian neo-avant-garde; spoken language; moving image

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