A heartwarming love letter to a more physical world, An Impossible Project is a wonderful documentary by Jens Meurer. A film that both digital and analogue lovers can enjoy and one that they will find hard not to smile throughout.
For some, digital is all they know and has totally consumed our world in every form of products. Analogue appeared to be on its knees in the 2000s and even into the 2010s, waiting for that final blow to put it out of its misery. Left to dwindle away and only remain thanks to some fans and technicians of the medium until they too gave up on it or passed away. Then thankfully, someone like Dr Florian Kaps (or Doc) comes along. A man who has so much love for analogue that it bleeds out of him and decides to take on the impossible; thus, our journey begins.
An Impossible Project is a documentary that makes it easy to gravitate towards almost entirely thanks to Kaps. His sheer enthusiasm for the medium allows the audience an easy access point and someone we can cling to and hope that he succeeds in the projects he undertakes. His passion is immense, and it will be hard not to have his love for analogue rub off on you by the time the credits roll.
The enjoyment of the documentary is a testament to Jens Meurer’s work here (filmed in 35mm) that you can connect with everyone who has this love and not feel that they are the way they are to purposely be niche. They have such joy for their work, and it is not just in the arts that this is felt; as Doc travels around, we see him interact with his favourite butcher who won’t even travel into the big cities as they think people should come to them if they want their product. There is a homeliness with analogue rife throughout the documentary, and as it continues on, you ease into your seat a bit more.
Yet, there are difficulties during Kaps journey. By saving that last factory from closure and gathering people together who could make it a success, he loses his position as CEO. This is obviously a touchy subject as it is never fully addressed, but from what was gathered, due to difficulties with the production of the films, the company was losing too much money. So like Steve Jobs, he was ousted from the company he founded. Undeterred, it seems, he continues on creating more businesses and keeping the dreams of analogue alive.
There is obvious tension with Kaps feelings towards the inevitable business-centric model that Impossible has ventured towards. He has the dreamer in him, and as such, profit is not as significant as the legacy is, but sadly, as we know, both usually have to go hand in hand. As the Impossible teamwork without him and begin to gain more and more success, a heartbreaking moment of forgetfulness comes right when Impossible’s reaches its brightest moment. Perfectly shot and edited, we see the pain that was surely felt for Doc.
While you could be forgiven that everyone involved in these projects, especially Kaps himself, are against the use of digital. It is, in fact, the opposite; they see its worth and merely suggest that there is no reason why analogue and digital cannot live happily together. He is right; of course, there should be a happy medium, and with people like him still fighting the good fight, the world can have that and feel the love that both bring. This is highlighted towards the end of the film when a group have interesting discussions at the dinner table.
Filmed over a multitude of years, we witness a change in the world of analogue as that final blow never comes. In fact, the digital force that was about to strike retreats as people, especially the under 25’s, begin to see the value of analogue, of the physical. Having witnessed this first hand and certainly, over lockdowns, the appreciation of having something physical in one’s hand is seemingly becoming more precious. Analogue seems to be revitalised, and it is a wondrous thing.
As good as digital is, there is nothing better than holding, feeling or, in Doc’s case, smelling the object, smelling that freshly developed film, or even growing something yourself. In a world that is in such a rush, it appears that those who missed out on these physical aspects are beginning to yearn for them. Proving that almost everything moves in cycles. Digital will always be there, but analogue will always feel special, and Doc proves that with his passion.
As said towards the end of An Impossible Project, we need more people like Doc in this world to find something that could be lost to the world and make sure it survives.
An Impossible Project is available now… digitally. It will be released in cinemas down the line.
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