a public declaration of policy and aims.
The artist and filmmaker, Julian Rosefeldt, turned his acclaimed thirteen channel art exhibit into an astounding feature film showcasing fantastic Berlin Germany locations with some exquisite performances from Cate Blanchett; all thirteen personifications of her. This is no ordinary documentary or non-fiction film, but an all out assault on art history manifestos ranging from Karl Marx to the modern day of Jean Luc Godard. Each of the characters Blanchett inhabits (homeless man, puppeteer, housewife, scientist, school teacher, CEO, widow, factory worker, punk, newscaster, choreographer, wall street broker) combines the many manifestos Rosefeldt read and combined to state the many facets of art and overwhelms you with concise images, sharp editing, and throbbing chant-like music. Everything and nothing is the theme. It all sounds so heavy with a stamp of importance to it, but humor is prevalent throughout as well with a wink and a smile.
“Manifesto” is ambitious and a profound risk taker which director Rosefeldt pulls off with exemplary ease. His camera (photography by Christoph Krauss) often pulls up to give a God’s eye view of the proceedings and allows the viewer to take in all the elements thrown our way. The words are spoken in present day language while Blanchett takes on the difficult task of making these people believable and worthy. It is not a vanity project to merely showcase her talents, but a deliberate organic exercise on what the role of an artist is in society and what importance, if any, does it have. The film is prescient with its importance much more today than ever since last November’s American election.
There is not enough that can be said about the power of what “Manifesto” sets out to achieve. Rosefeldt’s direction, Krauss’ cinematography, and the fluid majesty of Bobby Good’s monumental task of editing all the pieces into a coherent whole. Good visited the T/F Festival in person from Berlin to discuss the difficulties and triumphs of the project. I personally got to talk to him for a few minutes after the screening and congratulated him on his work. He remarked what a wonderful and receptive place this festival provided for his film as an artist. The community means everything to film-makers like him and to audiences like myself.
RATING: SPRINT As Fast As You Can, Do Not Even Think About Walking To This Film (worthy of repeated viewings)
“Manifesto” [2015 – 90 min] directed by Julian Rosefeldt, photography by Christoph Krauss, edited by Bobby Good.