Bottled Songs 1-4

  • 77'
  • Germany
  • 2020

The days of ransom notes written in letters cut out of magazines or bombastic manifestos sent to the newspapers are gone for good. Today’s media-savvy terrorists use filmed images for the purposes of manipulation, intimidation and propaganda. The Islamic State is almost unparalleled in the fervour with which it uses these means. As part of its war against unbelievers, this fundamentalist terror group disseminates tightly controlled videos with sophisticated editing. And the impact of these may well be even greater than the bloody violence unleashed by the group.

In video letters addressed to one another, filmmakers and researchers Chloé Galibert-Laîné and Kevin B. Lee analyse ISIS films found online. They show how the terrorists make effective use of stylistic devices drawn from Hollywood blockbusters, manipulate platforms for citizen journalism, set up dramatic arcs and use the camera as an implement of torture. Mainly, however, this fascinating desktop documentary is about watching. Not just passive reception that blunts the senses, but rather an activity with emotional, intellectual, aesthetic and ultimately ethical consequences.

As part of Critics’ Choice VII: On Positionality, the screenings of Bottled Songs 1-4 will be accompanied by special audio and text files

Chloé Galibert-Laîné, Kevin B. Lee
Countries of production
Germany, France, USA
Production Year
Festival Edition
IFFR 2021
French, English
Chloé Galibert-Laîné, Kevin B. Lee
Square Eyes
Chloé Galibert-Laîné, Kevin B. Lee
Chloé Galibert-Laîné, Kevin B. Lee
Chloé Galibert-Laîné, Kevin B. Lee
Production Design
Chloé Galibert-Laîné, Kevin B. Lee
Sound Design
Chloé Galibert-Laîné, Kevin B. Lee