“Manifesto” Review ✦✧✧✧✧

25 November, 2017

Director: Julian Rosefeldt
Screenwriter: Julian Rosefeldt
Director of Photography: Christoph Krauss
Cate BlanchettErika BauerRuby Bustamante

Synopsis: Transferred from multi-screen art installation to feature film, Cate Blanchett embodies thirteen different characters while reciting a selection of manifestos from well-known political, philosophical, and artistic movements.

Manifesto Review:

An ill-fated transition from gallery to movie theatre featuring a series of caricatures bound together in a failed “Holy Motors” format, “Manifesto” is an audio-visual test of sorts, challenging everyone’s internal academic with familiar words and new settings giving a new angle to a selection of historic manifestos. Postmodern yet self-loathing while riding the slipstream of all that it so openly despises, the movie projects the ramblings of stubborn anti-capitalist sentiment, drawing attention to the futility of its own art form in scenarios where society-altering declarations becoming meaningless.

Aimed at a particular kind of snobbish observer whose willingness to embrace art in its most outlandish forms outweighs the ability to judge a competent work of cinema, “Manifesto” retains its installation delusions, rendering itself almost entirely unwatchable in film form as Julian Rosefeldt’s unwavering belief in his own concept slowly eats away at the everyday viewer. Tenacious yet exceptionally unremarkable in its interpretation of the written word, the film loses most viewers within the opening act, allowing the bitter stench of pretentiousness to permeate each stolen sentence in a film more turgid than the average Terrence Malick movie and wholly lost on those unfamiliar with the varied interpretations of its multitude of references.

Like additional reading assigned by a sociology professor at the end of class, “Manifesto” has no fun to offer outside of its personal interest in the performative range of Cate Blanchett, making its presence bearable for some but excruciating for others as the A-Lister draws attention to the monotony of the film’s many texts, turning words sour as Rosefeldt assigns her warbling to a series of mundane characters. Enough to scare most away from the geniuses who fashioned the original texts, the film never achieves its goal of conveying the vigour behind various movements, reducing its manifestos to egocentric drivel that’s more likely to bore someone to death than enlighten them.


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