Day Is Done
SWITZERLAND / 2011 / Swiss German / Color / 35mm / 111 min
Director, Photography: Thomas Imbach
Script: Thomas Imbach, Patrizia Stotz
Editing: Gion Reto Killias, Tom La Belle
Score and Sound Design: Peter Bräker
Songs: Bill Callahan, Bob Dylan, Conor Oberst, Syd Barrett, Alphaville, Jason Molina, John Frusciante, George Vaine
Producers: Andrea Štaka, Thomas Imbach
Production Company, World Sales: Okofilm Productions www.okofilm.ch
A smokestack looming over the suburbs, passenger jets taking off, and many other incidents on the streets below as seen from the window of an apartment, recorded diligently for over 15 years. Meanwhile, messages left on an answering machine provide fragments of the director’s personal life. Everyday scenery that sometimes speeds up with time-lapse photography, and voices that offer hints regarding the filmmaker’s lifestyle. Both overlap within the flow of time, profiling a cross section of the world. The title is taken from a song by Nick Drake.
[Director’s Statement] While working on Ghetto (1997), I overhauled a vintage 35mm camera so that I could shoot on film stock with complete independence. I also began to use it to film the view from my studio. For over 20 years I have been working in this loft in an industrial zone behind the train station in Zurich. From the beginning, I was captivated by the fantastic panoramas and the 24-hour cinema offered by the ever-changing effects of light and weather conditions. Filming those views became a compulsion. I succumb to the temptation of the view and, with my camera, enter into it as if I were stepping into a landscape painting.
Another habit I had was collecting the messages left on my answering machine. I was fascinated by the then-new medium. Later I realized that the messages bore witness to the passage of time. The tapes document the key events of my life, like my father’s terminal illness or the birth of my son. The messages also tell the story of a couple whose relationship has begun to crumble just as their child is born. The stories hinted at through the messages reflect existential themes: birth and death, success and failure, separation and new beginnings.
After years of pondering how to combine these two sources, the one seen, the other heard, a visual and narrative structure began to take shape. The character of “T.” emerged: a protagonist enabling me to distill and fictionalize my autobiographical documents. The film leaves many blanks for each individual viewer to fill in. What T. has left unsaid or undone may provoke some and inspire curiosity in others.
Born in 1962, Thomas Imbach is an independent filmmaker based in Zurich. With Well Done (1994) and Ghetto (1997), he established his trademark audiovisual style, based on a combination of cinema-vérité camerawork and fast-paced computer-controlled editing. He produced his own work with his production company Bachim Films until 2007, when he founded Okofilm together with director/producer Andrea Štaka. Imbach has won numerous awards for his work both in Switzerland and abroad. His fiction feature films Happiness Is a Warm Gun (which was nominated for the Golden Leopard at the 2001 Locarno International Film Festival), Lenz (2006), and I Was a Swiss Banker (2007) all premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival. All his films have been released theatrically.