Can we believe our eyes? The short films of Johann Lurf often explore the enigmatic territory between the real and the perceived, challenging our senses to comprehend visions and sounds taken from the environment around us by means of subtle, beautiful trompe l'oeil effects. CAVALCADE, equally dazzling in 2D or 3D, sees him make a direct intervention into physical space for the first time.

The artist designed and constructed a 150cm-diametre water wheel, with one face divided into various patterned circles of varying shapes and colours. It was then fixed in place in a stream; we observe the wheel in rest, motion and rest again from a single vantage point, as it is illuminated by strobe lights synchronised with 35mm cameras. Clockwise and anti-clockwise movements disorientingly, magically interweave.

Director's Statement

Each time the film flow is interrupted to record an image, the strobe light seemingly freezes the motion of the water wheel - unleashing its motion patterns and creating an illusion of reversed motion and standstill - contradicting its actual speed. Our perception is tricked twice simultaneously: the illusion of the moving image is created in camera while the illusion of standstill is enforced by the strobing on the water wheel's patterns.

Director's Biography

Born in 1982, Johann Lurf was educated as a film director at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, Austria. He is known as an experimental filmmaker who cannot easily be subsumed under one style or category. His films examine various modes of (both human and technologically-aided) vision and motion, but his more formally-oriented filmic
experiments are always accompanied by strong narratives that, however subtly, examine society, codes, norms, perception, and the history and development of cinema itself.
Dabbling in short and feature-length films, analog and digital film, found-footage and his own shots, Johann has made a wide variety of cinematic works, many of which have been featured in international film festivals and cultural institutions, notably the Sundance Film Festival and the Austrian Film Museum.

2019 - CAVALCADE, short
2017 - *
2015 - CAPITAL CUBA, short
2014 - EMBARGO, short
2014 - TWELVE TALES TOLD, short
2013 - PYRAMID FLARE, short
2012 - RECONNAISSANCE, short
2011 - A TO A, short
2010 - ENDEAVOUR, short
2008 - 12 EXPLOSIONS, short
2007 - VERTIGO RUSH, short
2005 - PAN, short
2003 - (UNTITLED), short


How long did it take to make your short?
Three months.

Was it difficult to get financing?
It was a bureaucratic process, but doable.

Which thoughts come to mind concerning a “European cinema community”?
Variety, curiosity and enthusiasm come together and meet society.

If you owned a theatre for one night, which films would you screen?
Short, experimental works on 16, 35 and 70mm.

What is your next project?
A short film.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Johann Lurf

Produced by: Johann Lurf

Cinematography: Martin Putz

Editing: Johann Lurf

Production Design: Georg Hirzinger

Sound: Nora Czamler

Nominations and Awards

  • Short Film Candidates 2019