DVD - 2017
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Cate Blanchett delivers a series of art and political manifestos as a variety of characters.
MPAA rating: Not rated.
Publisher: Brooklyn, NY : FilmRise, [2017]
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (95 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in
digital,optical,surround,Dolby digital,rda
video file,region 1,rda
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Jun 10, 2018

This non-linear, seemingly experimental film may be a challenge for viewers who are as unfamiliar to the specific tenets of the philosophies of 20th century art movements as I am. While I appreciate what is being conveyed, I felt disconnected to its static presentation, and just couldn't settle into its pacing or patter.

Cate Blanchett, however, is her usual amazing self. If it had been just her in all these different roles without the overlay of the manifestos, I would have been enraptured. But that would have defeated the purpose of this piece!

Apr 22, 2018

Originally presented as a multi-screen gallery installation, Julian Rosefeldt’s celebration of various schools of 20th century thought and artistic expression makes for an engaging cinematic experience with Cate Blanchett portraying no less than a baker’s dozen worth of personas, each reading from one particular group’s published manifesto. She’s a grieving widow haranguing a crowd of graveside mourners with the anti-everything ferocity of Dadaism. She’s a wholesome midwest housewife lowering her head over the dinner table and, in lieu of grace, delivering instead a longwinded paean on the comforting familiarity of Pop Art. Now she’s both a news anchor and a roving reporter exchanging banter on the precepts of Conceptual Art and Minimalism. And, my personal favourite, she’s a no-nonsense teacher drilling the virtues of Von Trier's Dogme 95 into the heads of her bewildered second grade students. Theatrical, volatile, glorious, and contradictory, Blanchett’s consummate acting skill and Rosefeldt’s keen eye for marrying ideology with the perfect image (a goth punk delivers a rant on Stridentism; a maddeningly pretentious CEO gushes over Abstract Expressionism) add up to a master class on the artistic and philosophical movements which have shaped western society. Well worth a second viewing.


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