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Inventories of the Rudolf Pöch Collection at Filmarchiv Austria

With the objective of collecting, wherever possible, "living documents of different stages of human culture“, Rudolf Pöch made documentary films not only during his expeditions to Papua New-Guinea and the African Kalahari desert, but also when visiting the POW camps of World War I. He took a particular interest in everyday and festive activities of different cultures, some of which he filmed unobserved, resorting to a lateral viewfinder; other pictures were taken in brief, planned sequences in close interaction with the individuals filmed.

Rediscovered and copied onto safety film by Paul Spindler in the 1950’s, approx. 1500 metres of footage have been preserved by the Austrian film archive. In addition, the archive’s inventories contain two movie documentations, compiled from Pöch’s original shootings and commented by Spindler himself in memory of Rudolf Pöch: “Ausschnitte aus dem Forschungsfilm in der Kalahari 1907-1909” (Film excerpts from the Kalahari expedition 1907-1909) dated 1958 and “Neu-Guinea 1904-1906” dated 1959. Another important filmic document,“Buschmann spricht in den Phonographen” (Bushman speaks into the phonograph), is an attempt made in 1987 by Dietrich Schüller, the head of the Phonogrammarchiv of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, at synchronising original footage from 1908 with sound simultaneously recorded on a phonograph using present-day, state-of-the-art technical equipment.