(Cate Blanchett, et al / DVD / NR / (2015) 2018 / FilmRise)
Overview: From acclaimed visual artist Julian Rosefeldt, 'Manifesto' features two-time Academy AwardŽ winner Cate Blanchett in 13 distinct, must-see vignettes that incorporate timeless manifestos from 20th-century art movements.
DVD Verdict: Simply put, 'Manifesto' is a German artist Julien Rosefeldt, played by Cate Blanchett's 13 different characters. Each character that Blanchett spots plays and sings passages from different manifestos. It's obviously a hard-to-follow, deliberately hardcore movie.
Still, the film has a fluent narrative. Rosefeldt identifies each character with a manifesto. It is possible to say, "What does he mean?" As the words flow rapidly. Because the content needs to be placed in a context and doing so is not possible because of the "difficult to follow" that I am talking about.
Although this situation reduces the pleasure of the film, it is not disconnected from the narrative that it reveals in general terms. Blanchett offers a one-man show where he does not portray his characters as if he had lived (trippy, yes? Agreed).
In parallel, I can say that atmosphere, make-up and fiction are also top level. It is also worth noting that the manifestos associated with Blanchett's performance, or the humor that he created about the contents, are top notch.
However, and as I've tried to convey, there is little to no story in the film. The scenes are merely there to convey the aforementioned manifestos. Indeed, to my mind, it's like wandering aimlessly into a NY art gallery one lonely night / early morning, and finding yourself surrounded by screens all playing simultaneously, you sit down, confused watching the last minute of any one short as best as your eyes can flirt between them.
It starts over and you are instantly captured by the character. Cate Blanchett's stage is calmly set with drone shots and slow continuous camera movements. Here on her stage she draws you into this character, and their life. Blanchett captures your immediate attention and holds it until the screens go black.
It is a daring project, but it is probably too artistic for me. I appreciate the concept and the artistic achievement, of that I can admit, but does it translate to a 95 minute film - well, that's for you all to decide, no isn't it. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.