We’ve already spoken extensively about the video installation version of Manifesto, a fragmentary film project in which Cate Blanchett plays 13 different characters across a panoply of screens, each reciting different decontextualized artist manifestos within a variety of other conversational settings. (As a CEO delivering a speech to her company, as an elementary school teacher, as a devout Christian mother praying over a turkey, etc.) But now that that project, by Julian Rosefeldt, is being translated from its 130-minute installation format into a 90-minute feature film (set to screen at Sundance), it has an actual trailer.
Though the trailer doesn’t reveal it to be the case, one of the things I appreciated so much about the project was that “it’s quite often laugh-out-loud funny, occasionally alienating, working in opposition to the poetic didacticism of its core texts.” Part of the excellence of the installation piece is the films’ ability to coalesce — at one point, all Blanchetts start chiming in in a strange, robotic upper register, and suddenly these individual artists’ manifestos suddenly begin to sound like an odd, flattened hymn to words that’ve become nonsense. In its last stop at New York’s Park Avenue Armory, each screen stood like a giant tombstone in the middle of that endless space. I do wonder how this will all translate to an experience in a traditional movie theater, with that potent spacial element removed. Regardless, it’ll still be a document of how excellently Blanchett can scream Dada mantras at mourning funeral guests or give a weather report in the language of minimalist art.
Watch the trailer: