By Julian Rosefeldt
Manifesto pays homage to the 20th century’s most impassioned statements on art that have revolutionised ways of seeing in society. Drawing on over 50 manifestos by influential artists and thinkers such as Karl Marx, André Breton, John Cage and Tristan Tzara, director Julian Rosefeldt scripted 13 monologues performed by Cate Blanchett.
In a bid to defamiliarise these iconic passages, Blanchett assumes unlikely personas to deliver founding texts of art movements like Futurism, Dadaism, Pop Art, Surrealism and Minimalism as everyday speech. Her transformations are mesmerising in their range and virtuosity, and often laced with humour: a Russian choreographer shouts instructions at dancers from Yvonne Rainer’s No Manifesto; a Southern mother leads a family prayer consisting of Claes Oldenburg’s I am for an Art…; a schoolteacher corrects her pupils’ work citing the rules of Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg’s Dogme 95.
Displaced from their art historical contexts, the reworked manifestos challenge the viewer to question their relevance in present-day settings, and encounter anew the radical spirit behind the brilliant rhetoric. This contemporising action is mirrored in the film’s form. These declarations—immortalised in word—now find new expression in ephemeral performance, and are captured again on film. The re-visioning of these monumental texts surfaces their resolute call to action: what should be the role of art in society today?
Manifesto premiered as a multi-channel video installation at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in 2015. Following this, it had its European premiere at the 46th International Rotterdam Film Festival (Netherlands) and its world premiere at the 33rd Sundance Film Festival (USA) in 2017. It also won the Main Award and the Audience Award at the Kino der Künst (Germany, 2017), and was nominated for the Ingman Bergman Award at the 40th Göteborg Film Festival (Sweden, 2017).
Julian Rosefeldt (b. 1965) is a German visual artist and filmmaker, known for his complex multi-channel video installations. His artworks are held in collections all over the world, such as the Nationalgaleries (Germany), MoMA (USA), and The Saatchi Collection (UK). He was a guest professor at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar from 2009 to 2010, and is currently a professor in Digital and Time-based Media at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste.
Approximately 95 minutes
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- Rating: PG13 (Some Coarse Language)
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