A filmmaker starts out to comment on his film. The reversal of film and commentary creates a new film. While the filmmaker gradually deconstructs the filmmaking process a new story is being told.


Genre: Essay Film

Production: UK 2009

Running Time: 15 min

Language: English

Shooting Format: DVCPRO-HD

Original Aspect Ratio: 16:9

Sound Mix: Stereo LTRT


Voice-over — Robert Cambrinus

Khalil — Menis Yousry

Nada — Zmira Wicking

Ayesha — Alice Brickwood

Jan — Louie Seers

Mehmud — Farhan Khan

Ali — Abbas Daya

Yusuf — Amir Boutrous

Newsagent — Robert Cambrinus


Special Jury Mention — VIS Vienna Independent Shorts (Austria)

Audience Award — VIS Vienna Independent Shorts (Austria)

Special Jury Prize — ISAFF Open Cinema (St Petersburg, Russia)

Film Festivals

Warsaw Film Festival (Poland) — Premiere

Flanders Film Festival (Ghent, Belgium) — EFA qualified

Viennale (Vienna, Austria)

Diagonale (Graz, Austria)

Cinequest (San Jose, USA)

Festival de Cine Internacional de Barcelona (Spain)

Malta International Film Festival (Valetta, Malta)

Filmini International Short Film Festival (Sofia, Bulgaria)

New Vision International Film Festival (Kiev, Ukraine)

Leuven International Short Film Festival (Belgium)

Bamberger Kurzfilmtage (Germany)

New York Short Film Festival (USA)

Courtisane Festival (Ghent, Belgium)

European Media Art Festival (Osnabrück, Germany)

video_dumbo video art festival (New York, USA)

Cortopotere Short Film Festival (Bergamo, Italy)

L'Alternativa Independent Film Festival (Barcelona, Spain)

Opuzen Film Festival (Croatia)

Okto TV/Oktoskop (Vienna, Austria)


Writer/Director — Robert Cambrinus

Director of Photography — Jun Keung Cheung

Focus Puller — Hu Hsuan Wei

Assistant Cameraman — Brian Lockyer

Grip — Ed Lancaster

Gaffer — Duncan Riedl

2nd Gaffer — James Matai

Spark — Adrianna Tsigara

Sound Recordist — Roger Johnson

2nd Sound Recordist — Rowan October

Boom Operator — Jason Creasey

Production Designer — Renee Kharag

Runner — Lorraine Brown

Make-up Artist — Laura Jane Sessions

Hair — Almut Gramar

2nd Make-up Artist — Soraya Gonzales

Stills Photographer — Joana Gauer

Composer — Nicholas Singer

Sound Designer/Mixer — Markus Moll

Offline Editor — Nathan Cubitt

Online/Colourist — Oladoke Fagbenle

Assistant Director — Mark Vella

Production Manager — Audrey Destandau

Producer — Robert Stokvis

Text by Christoph Huber

Film critic for Die Presse

"Hi, I'm Robert Cambrinus, the director of this film!" This friendly greeting can be heard on the soundtrack, then it is immediately swept up by the film's own images: The wooden lion will play an important role later. Cambrinus pays no attention to the film's title, Commentary, as he takes a look at the next scene as in the audio commentary on a DVD: He intended to allude to Arabian deserts, shooting took hours, but the camera was, unfortunately, "a little shaky". In addition, formations that resemble dunes turn out to be wrinkles in a vaguely sand-colored blanket.

With a hefty portion of irony Cambrinus comments on his short film The Good Muslim, about a Muslim man who has emigrated to England, where he suffers from the pressures of life. The narrative literally overlays the images in a way that is often equally illuminating and disillusioning. Vitally important decisions are made on the basis of shockingly banal circumstances during shooting: The ending was intended to be quite different, but a technical problem arose during the last scene, and the use of a certain piece of music is purely coincidental — the editor chose it because of the title. Seemingly anecdotal digressions and doubts are simply left hanging, while a number of details concerning the story of the film's creation and the backstory are reflected in the film. Irritatingly enough, they are two wholly different things. Deconstruction and (over-) interpretation merge: What is left of the images beyond set paths (thematic, technical, autobiographical, etc.) on the soundtrack? This is a clever game of deception and commentary on a contemporary viewing regime which has, for the most part, rarely been dealt with in cinematography: As if in an effective final point, Cambrinus promises a version of the film without audio commentary as a DVD extra. The remaining credits are accompanied by the characteristic embarrassed sighing that's audible on DVD soundtracks when the person doing the commentary has nothing more to say.

A German version can be downloaded as pdf.

Text by Laura Rascaroli

Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at University College Cork

Laura Rascaroli's paper "Sonic Interstices — Essayistic Voiceover and Spectatorial Space in Robert Cambrinus's Commentary" was published in Media Fields Journal (University of California, Santa Barbara) 9/2011. The full article can be downloaded as pdf or read online.

In Conversation

with Siegfried Tesche, film journalist

The interview was conducted for FilmFest Spezial during the European Media Art Festival in Osnabrück on 29 April 2011. An English transcript is available as pdf.

In Conversation

with Lorenzo Rossi for the Cortopotere Short Film Festival in Bergamo, XI edition 23-29 October 2011. An English transcript is available as pdf.

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Other Voices

"Robert Cambrinus was one of the exciting discoveries of this year's VIENNALE. His short film COMMENTARY surprised in its originality.   It is an intelligent and also very personal piece that avoids any pretentiousness in its treatment of the filmmaking process. I was delighted to present his film in the official programme."

                                                                                        Hans Hurch, Viennale