Glossary of Broken Dreams

On the heels of his amazing 2017 documentary Traceroute, Austrian genius/insane person Johannes Grenzfurthner brings us a documentary statement of the problem in Glossary of Broken Dreams.

Working with a $10K USD budget, Johannes assembles a dizzying patchwork of rapid-fire occasionally seizure-inducing images and words to illuminate the dangers of capitalism, it’s historic rise out of oligarchical tendencies, and to re-introduce the virtues of Marxism all set to the soothing tones of a hip hop version of Pachelbel’s canon in D.

“…it’s a peculiar film for nerds of a peculiar set of interests, but at the same time it’s talking about topics that are so goddamn important that more people should know about it. I guess that’s why I made it. No idea if there is even a target audience for it, but one can try. There is a lot to process. And cat meme drunk masses will probably not even scratch the surface. But my idea was: better to challenge the audience than to dumb it down.”

This difficult-to-describe extravaganza includes puppets. 8 bit animation. Anime. Stock footage. Referring to himself as a “lumpennerd,” Johannes gives an “ideotaining” cinematic review of relevant political concepts. Everyone is talking about freedom. Privacy. Identity. Resistance. The Market. The Left. In this film, Johannes explains, re-evaluates, and sometimes sacrifices political golden calves of discourse. Snarky subversion this nerdy and dense has a specific choir that is being preached to. It’s aggressive, doesn’t pull punches, and burns through ideas at machine-gun rate. Grenzfurthner pokes fun at hipster culture that puts on a veneer of resistance, but is really just playing the prescribed part as a cog in the great machine.

In speaking with Johannes about the film, he expressed passion and frustration about the state of the world. “…it’s a peculiar film for nerds of a peculiar set of interests, but at the same time it’s talking about topics that are so goddamn important that more people should know about it. I guess that’s why I made it. No idea if there is even a target audience for it, but one can try. There is a lot to process. And cat meme drunk masses will probably not even scratch the surface. But my idea was: better to challenge the audience than to dumb it down.”

The film brought me a new word for the slack-ass mass-opiate distracted majority: lumpen as in “the lumpen public is enveloped in a culture of dependency” or as part of the noun (in Marxist contexts) lumpenproletariat describing the unorganized and unpolitical lower orders of society who are not interested in revolutionary advancement. In other words, most people.

 

“…lumpenproletariat describing the unorganized and unpolitical lower orders of society who are not interested in revolutionary advancement.”

Many are troubled at the times. Most of us just distract ourselves or flail about in impotent rage on the internet. Johannes Grenzfurthner makes films and has given us 97 head-spinning minutes of core dump rage and frustration that is also entertaining and witty. Not, the website cautions, to be used with false consciousness or silicone-based lubricant.

Amber Benson from Buffy the Vampire Slayer makes a voice appearance in an animation segment on the media. The film’s North American premiere will be at Champlain College in Burlington VT on April 11th with a follow-up screening in Montreal on April 15th. The film was shown at the Diagonale – Festival of Austrian Film March 16th and at Gartenbau Kino theater in Vienna on March 22nd.

You can learn more on the Monochrom project page.

Glossary of Broken Dreams (2018). Directed by Johannes Grenzfurthner. Written by Johannes Grenzfurthner, Ishan Raval. Starring Johannes Grenzfurthner, Charlie Poulon, Daniel Hasibar.

6 out of 10

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