Jill Godmilow, who made a virtually exact replica of NICHT löschbares Feuer as What Farocki Taught (1996), has described it as an exemplary piece of agit-prop cinema.
It is also remarkable for its mode of enunciation: ostensibly a film about napalm, the film shuns, as Farocki's opening remarks announce, any direct imagistic representation of the effects of napalm on its human victims; it only barely portrays its uses in Vietnam.
(3) The Faroqhis were repatriated to India in 1947, and then moved on to Indonesia and West Java in the wake of the Indian Civil War.
The family returned to Germany in 1958, settling first in Bad Godesberg and then in Hamburg, where his father practiced medicine.
Farocki has now established himself as an enduring presence in the art world and his videos have appeared at Documenta, the ZKM in Karlsruhe, and the ICA in London, amongst others.
Recent installations – Auge/Machine I, II and III (Eye/Machine, 2001-03) – continue to develop his familiar technique of recycling imagery and sound from a range of sources such as military simulation devices, industrial optometrics, and commercial and penal surveillance technology.
Or, rather, does it reflect a change in the status of the social world and its images?
That Farocki's cinema was a cinema engagé was abundantly clear from the very beginning of the first film he made after having been kicked out of the German Film and Television Academy Berlin (DFFB) in 1968, a film which garnered for him his first significant critical notice in European film circles.
He then began his career as an independent film and video maker, a career that has now spanned more than thirty-five years and more than sixty films and videos.
The Berlin film scene of the early ‘60s in which Farocki began to develop was an energetic one, strongly influenced by the incipient student movement.