Man of mystery: director Matthias Von Braun, whose latest short film, Impenetrable, has just been released on YouTube
Matthias Von Braun, the London filmmaker who has won many plaudits for the dark, surrealist, fetish-inspired short films he has created over the past seven years, has just released his latest work, Impenetrable, on YouTube.
Here, we share what we know about the mysterious mister Matthias and also embed his short films from YouTube into this article for you to watch. The embedded films are presented in their release order, starting with 2016’s Decay II and concluding with 2023’s impenetrable. That way, as you scroll down, you can watch them in the order they were made.
Note however that 2022’s Machine has an age restriction on it that makes it only viewable directly on YouTube. So for Machine below, you’ll find just a still from the film, with its direct YouTube link in the caption below it. All the other films should be watchable within this article.
2016 – DECAY II: Early dark surreal short film by Matthias Von Braun features Alice Bizarre, with guest appearance by wriggly worms
But to start our story with the latest release: Impenetrable, starring performance artist/model Lilith Newson and actor/musician/photographer/poet Arthur Griffiths, premiered at Austria’s Fright Nights festival in October, going on to scxreenings in early November at Hanover’s Obscura festival and Hollywood’s Horrorfest before its appearance scheduled for this weekend at Seattle’s Secs Fest.
At a few seconds short of four minutes duration, Impenetrable is the longest of Von Braun’s fetish film shorts so far. Clearly then there’s nothing yet in his oeuvre to worry those with an attention span deficiency. Nevertheless this director packs a great deal of thought-provoking visual and aural impact into these short works — their consistent, distinctive production style distancing his creations substantially from standard fetish fare.
True, his protagonists appear almost exclusively either nude or clothed in latex (the painted-on liquid variety being most favoured). But that’s where any resemblance ends. The films all have eerie instrumental/sound effect soundtracks of the type favoured for horror films, greatly enhancing the tension in the dark visuals.
2018 – DEVOID: Von Braun’s acclaimed film with Monika Blaszczak as a shadowy figure emerging from possibly a symbolic vagina
And it’s not just in the fetishy films of Matthias Von Braun that darkness rules. The director himself has managed to remain cloaked in a considerable degree of mystery throughout his seven-year spree. Although his films are easy enough to find online, the information he shares publicly about himself is extremely limited.
It seems that this is an auteur who really wants his creations to speak for themselves — which they do, most eloquently. His website About page is devoted not to the kind of florid, self-aggrandising claims sometimes mistaken by artists for actual facts, but principally to what other people think of him. Its information comes in two forms: a simple list of some festival highlights where his films have been screened and/or won awards, followed by the reproduction of a glowing in-depth review by Adrian Perez of Von Braun’s most-feted film to date: 2018’s Devoid.
2022 – SWITCH: Eva Cornelisse and Olivier Tafforin discover the joys of shiny black tubing
Devoid, featuring Monika Blaszczak, has been nominated for no less than 23 international film festival awards and won six awards in different categories at festivals in London, Berlin, Madrid and Los Angeles. So it’s perhaps not surprising that Perez describes it as a masterpiece. The review draws comparisons with such notable movies as the Wachowskis’ The Matrix (1999) and its spin-off Animatrix anthology (2003); to Ridley Scott’s Bladerunner (1982); and to the same director’s Prometheus (2012). Which is not bad going for a piece lasting all of three minutes 15 seconds.
It is Von Braun’s website that also gives us a rare glimpse of another side to someone whose professional surname may evoke the WW2 German rocket scientist who pioneered post-war rocket and space technology in the USA!
For Matthias Von Braun is also the presenter of a series of Filmmaking for Artists workshops at London’s prestigious BFI Southbank. The Workshops page of his website currently lists six events scheduled for dates from December 10 this year to May 26 next year.
2022 – MACHINE: Owing to age restriction, watch this “dark surreal nightmare set deep underground in a post-human automated factory where a bio-mechanical android bursts from her artificial (latex) fetal sac” directly on YouTube here
The first two (Dec 10 and Jan 14) are beginners’ workshops exploring the Surrealist art film movement and the fundamentals of filmmaking. These are followed (Jan 28 and Feb 4) by two intermediate-level workshops exploring German Expressionism, camera lenses, settings and lighting.
Next (Feb 25) comes a beginners’ workshop on the French New Wave. Then finally (in his current schedule), Matthias will conduct a two-day advanced filmmaking workshop (May 25 and 26), teaching those with a basic understanding of filmmaking how to use a cinema camera with cine prime lenses and a professional lighting kit to achieve cinematic shots.
Costs of the workshops range from £60 for the first two beginners’ workshops to £140 for the two-day advanced workshop next May. Full details (including booking) of these workshops can be found on the Workshops page of the Matthias Von Braun website.
2023 – IMPENETRABLE: New “terrifying dark surreal exploration of desire” featuring Arthur Griffiths, Lilith Newson, nudity, liquid latex