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Zygosis
A Film by Gavin Hodge & Tim Morrison
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film stillPaying tribute to John Heartfield, the anti-Nazi German satirist who pioneered the photomontage, ZYGOSIS is a radical and humorous electronic homage to Heartfield's methods via animation of archival material, contemporary interviews, and footage shot in Berlin during the opening of the Wall and the upheavals in East Germany.

ZYGOSIS is a fusion of such modern video techniques as scratch editing, chroma-key, paintbox, and three dimensional computer animation, all of which have replaced the scissors and glue which were Heartfield's tools.

"*****[5 Stars - Must Have] The computer graphics used in the program breathe new life into Heartfield's anti-art. These animated montages carry the old images to new hilarious heights, and in some cases create entirely new images... ZYGOSIS is an intense, jarring, and often funny journey into the anti-art world of John Heartfield. The computer graphics are nothing short of spectacular, and are, for once, not overused. Because of its powerful and skillful use of images, and its educational and entertainment qualities, ZYGOSIS is enthusiastically recommended."—Video Rating Guide for Libraries

"ZYGOSIS is a superb documentary about the German photomonteur John Heartfield. The tone - hip, lucid, and humorous - recalls the BEGINNER'S GUIDE books, but the film's real achievement is to show how little of Heartfield's subversive aesthetic has survived into the television age, and why that is."—The Independent (London)

"A jewel... Hodge and Morrison juggle facts, images and quizzical analysis with a sorcerer's skill."—The Times (London)

"ZYGOSIS is outstanding... Modern video trickery, for instance, turns a Nuremberg rant into a sales pitch for tooth brushes. This film succeeds on every level. It's educational, informative and it 'subverts with humour.'"—Time Out (London)

"Extraordinary. It doesn't just talk about Heartfield's method, it emulates it."—Ballast Quarterly Reviews

Red Ribbon Winner, 1993 American Film & Video Festival
Silver Hugo Winner, 1991 Chicago Film Festival
Grand Prize Winner, 1991 Bilbao Film Festival

26 minutes / Color
Release: 1991
Copyright: 1991

For colleges, universities, government agencies, hospitals and corporations

This DVD is sold with a license for institutional use and Public Performance rights.

Subject areas:
Art, Biographies, Communications, Cultural Studies, Experimental, Germany, History (World), Media Studies, Photography, Western Europe

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