One of Terence McDonald’s more experimental, darker films, Nebelung centres on the distressed mental state of a German language teacher precipitated by the discovery of an old photograph in his classroom.
A former teacher himself, McDonald captures the disarming stares of the children in the hushed but tense atmosphere of the classroom. On finding the old photo, the teacher suffers from claustrophobic hallucinations featuring imagery from World War II. The pupils, who have been dismissed, watch him through the classroom window. The frenetic editing reflects the teacher’s anxiety on his paranoid search through the empty school, before he is somewhat soothed by a projector showing images of a young boy playing airplanes on a sandy beach.
Terence McDonald and writer Gerry Wills worked on several projects together; with Nebelung they earned acclaim at home and abroad including first prize in the National Film Institute’s Amateur Film competition in 1975.
This film is part of The Terence McDonald Collection. To watch more of the collection click here.