COIK #2: Don’t look now


At the See #6Brendan Dawes from magneticNorth also showed a number of older projects. In 2004 he ran the 1973 film Don’t Look Now through a simple slit-scan program written in Processing and saved the resultant frames. These results are as eerie and bewilderingly strange as to be expected from that film.

It scared the living daylight out of me when I first saw it at the age of 14 or so.

Before he introduced the slides, he asked the audience (some 850 Germans) if we knew the film.  Only one or two people raised a hand, and Mr. Dawes must have returned to the UK thinking us Germans a terribly uneducated lot.

But then we are a dubbed nation, relying on getting lost in translations. Feeding us the German film title would have achieved strikingly different results. A clear case of COIK-Syndrome. Clear only if known.

  • If we had seen some original stills, we would have recognized the film.
  • If we had been giving a moment or two, we also would have got it.

But being put on the spot, sitting in the dark and in a large audience, means some adrenaline is at work, and a certain fear of failing; and when under pressure we fall back easily only on things we are very familiar with.

Even though I have read Daphne du Maurier’s book several times in English, I watched the film the first (and last) time in German, and so that is the corner where I have it stored, and that was what my brain needed at that moment. A red trigger. Something to help me recognize. Something to help me choose the right drawer. Because I knew I knew. I just could not grasp it.

When Dawes began to talk about the opening sequence, when he began telling the story of a grieving Donald Sutherland, my friend and I nudged each other and whispered: Oh, he means Wenn die Gondeln Trauer tragen.

The story achieved what the processed images could not. And once we were on safe grounds, we even realized which of the frame sections must be the dream sequence. 



If a book or film title is very important, you might want to make sure everyone in the audience gets it. Do not rely on global pop culture alone. Everyone who has ever watched that film would have remembered one of the original stills or the film poster. It is not a film you forget easily.

Fear is a master player at memory.