Dummy tanks made of wood, canvas and sometimes even painted by hand, were used in both the First and Second World Wars, and up to the present, to deceive the enemy. And strangely enough, while pretend military vehicles are used in real conflict situations, filmmakers tend to opt for the genuine article.
The video recreates the scene of an archive photograph of 1918 from the Imperial War Museum in London, which shows a group of French civilians observing a dummy tank abandoned on the street. While the historic photo was taken in the French town of Lille, the video shows a street in the centre of Bolzano, almost a century later, with a group of extras dressed in period costumes looking at a dummy tank.
The strange military vehicle does not seem overly out of place in the staged scene – the use of black and white creates a reassuring distance between the image and the viewer. intertwined to this sort of remake we see a genuine tank rumbling through the streets of Bolzano. This time there is no make-believe, no actors: the filmed reactions of passers-by in the street coming face to face with a real-life war machine.