Johann Lurf: Masterclass

Display Schedule

Code Completion Credits Range Language Instruction Semester
373MJL Z 1 2/D English winter

Subject guarantor


Name of lecturer(s)


Learning outcomes of the course unit

Insights into the evolution of film stocks & formats & changing nature of representation

Mode of study

viewing and thinking

Prerequisites and co-requisites


Course contents

Johann Lurf will screen and discuss his award winning feature film “*”, a survey of night sky footage in the movies from 1896 until the present. He will also entertain questions about his short films (screened the night before at Ponrepo) and the experimental film scene in Austria. Lurf is the only certified 70mm projectionist in Vienna.

6 December, Ponrepo at 20:30, Lurf will present the following short films:

Vertigo Rush (19 min, 2007)

The Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over the Lazy Dog (3 min, 2009)

A to A (5 min, 2011)

Picture Perfect Pyramid (5 min, 2013)

Twelve Tales Told (4 min, 2014)

Capital Cuba (12 min, 2015)

At FAMU, Lurf will screen his STAR film in the Screening room, 7 December at 14:00

Henry Hills will introduce Lurf at both programs

This program is partially supported by the Austrian Cultural Forum

Recommended or required reading


Assessment methods and criteria

To receive credit students must attend both screenings and write a 3 page paper (plagiarism from the internet will result in no credit). Send to:


In the hands of Johann Lurf (Vienna, 1982) cinema resembles a finely tuned instrument resonating at various frequencies: analog and digital, physically overwhelming and contemplative, shot with the artist's own camera and compiled from found footage. Irreducible to a single stylistic direction, Lurf's works defy simple classification and speak to the multitude of possibilities in both making and reflecting on cinema. What ties them together is a close examination of the world and its transformation into images, a formal earnestness stripped down to the bare essentials, and a pinch of mischief shining through.

--Alejandro Bachmann, Film Museum Vienna

Educated at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, where he studied under Harun Farocki, Lurf makes both films and installations. Moving freely between found-footage works and films he shoots himself, Lurf displays a profound sensitivity to the layered histories and meanings that are manifest in particular places or structures, to the revelations that can emerge from preexisting imagery, and to the properties and potentialities of his chosen media (whether film or digital video).

--Jed Rapfogel, Anthology Film Archives

Viennese filmmaker Johann Lurf has built a considerable reputation internationally, thanks to a succession of striking shorts in a structuralist vein that investigate film and space often through found-footage moving image. His first feature-length work ★ is a scintillating, monumental development of this tendency, a brilliantly edited compilation of shots of the night sky, lifted from 550 films from the beginning of cinema history right up to the present, and from all around the world, ordered chronologically with original soundtrack (including dialogue) and picture format intact.

It is a beautifully simple idea, but expansive and multilayered in the actual viewing, a profoundly involving, immersive, resonant experience. On one level, ★ offers the straightforward pleasure of outright surrender to the onward rush and flow of sounds and visual sensations, with the occasional tingle of recognition - but the cumulative impact of this multitudinous assemblage inevitably prompts more analytical musings on the stars and the universe as imaginative constructs, figured differently according to national context and epoch, and their primal role as locus for our projected fears and fantasies.

The film will remain forever unfinished, since Lurf plans to add further clips as new films get made, or older ones resurface; like some ever-expanding archive of our desires, ambitions, wonderment, imagination, the cosmos in ★ is truly infinite.

--Matthew Barrington, Essay Film Festival London in March 2018

Further information

This course is an elective for all AMU students

Schedule for winter semester 2018/2019:

Date Day Time Tutor Location Notes No. of paralel
06.12.2018 20:30–22:00 Bio Konvikt
Lecturers: Johann Lurf a Henry Hills lecture parallel1
07.12.2018 14:00–17:00 Projection Room
Lažanský palác
lecture parallel1

Schedule for summer semester 2018/2019:

The schedule has not yet been prepared

The subject is a part of the following study plans