Boris Mitic’s In Praise of Nothing is probably the most unusual documentary you are likely to see this year.
In Praise of Nothing opens with a black screen framed in early 20th century cinema decorative title boundaries, against a crackling soundtrack.
The reminiscent of an old gramophone record left spinning after the end of a song – period typeface titles appear: «In Praise of Nothing/ a whistleblowing documentary parable/ (not exactly in prose)/ wherein Nothing tries to defend its cause».
To the haunting sound of dusty saxophone, images appear: first the sun piercing through blackened clouds, then endless whiteness seen from a passing icebreaker, next a vast desert highway, then a cat-food billboard in an apocalyptic landscape …
«The dogged determination over eight years has produced a film that is both lyrical and jarring.»
The titles continue: «One day nothing runs away from home, tired of being misunderstood/It crosses 8 mountains and 8 seas…/.. and arrives in our lost valley».
8 years, 62 cinematographers, 70 countries
Over more images, the nut brown, smoke and whisky tempered voice of Iggy Pop – a wild boy of the American punk scene in the 1970s, now a [unseen] wiry and weathered 71 year old – begins his voiceover: «Finally our first date;/not sure if I came early or late./ I’ve got so much to tell you but I’m still wondering how;/ I don’t wanna suck up to you nor make you bow./ There’s never been a less exciting time/to be behind a camera, on that I agree,/ so let’s up this game/a little bit differently…/ We will skip talking heads, expert analysis/special effects and cultural paralysis./No classic twists, no money shots,/no side characters, no subplots;/ No saving the world, no noble pretentions,/ – just portraits of you and me in everyday situations –/ And a few lines of comments,/to frame the debate,/just to make sure/ that you will bite the bait.»