Close-up on Kubelka's Films

PRECISION is the quality most often associated with Peter Kubelka's films. He indicated the course of his career with ``Mosaic in Confidence,'' his very first movie. Completed in 1955, it uses a painstakingly edited series of images to depict a love affair and an automobile race that serve as metaphors for each other. Its unconventional structure did not please Mr. Kubelka's teachers at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematofia in Rome, and his next productions, ``Adebar'' and ``Schwechater,'' caused even more of a stir: Although commissioned for use as advertisements, they became near-abstract artworks through Kubelka's rigorous editing procedures. When commissioned to make a filmed portrait of artist Arnulf Rainer, he went further yet, building the whole movie from rhythmically alternating black and white frames.

Kubelka's most celebrated work is ``Our Trip to Africa,'' photographed during a safari with an Austrian businessmen.

A complicated montage of images, words, and sounds, the film comments on the need of ``civilized'' people to dominate any environment they encounter.

``Pause!'' is the latest Kubelka film, recording Mr. Rainer's contortionistic ``body performances'' through photography and editing that - as in all of Kubelka's cinema - unites picture and sound into a seamless and evocative pattern.

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