James McAvoy may have taken on the sizeable task of playing multiple roles in the upcoming thriller, Split, about a man suffering from dissociative personality disorder, but the first trailer for Manifesto, which is receiving its international premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, offers an astonishing glimpse of the 13(!) characters that Cate Blanchett portrays in the film.
Blanchett has long been heralded for her range and versatility as an actor, particularly her turn as a Bob Dylan in Todd Haynes’ I’m Not There. This ambitious and unique sounding project by German artist Julian Rosefeldt looks like the perfect platform for her talents. The trailer shows us brief flashes of Blanchett as a homeless man, a news anchor, a teacher, a construction worker, a scientist and a seedy drunkard to name just some of her characters.
Manifesto started out as a multiscreen video installation, first exhibited at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne back in 2015, before additional screenings in Berlin and New York last year. Now Rosefeldt is releasing his project as a single 90-minute feature, described on his website as “a series of striking monologues […] created by editing and reassembling a collage of artists’ manifestos, from declarations penned by the Futurists, Dadaists and Situationists, to the musings of individual artists, architects, dancers and filmmakers such as Sol LeWitt, Yvonne Rainer and Jim Jarmusch.”
By having Blanchett recite these manifestos via 13 very different characters, Rosefeldt seeks to recontextualise these abstract ideas within the everyday world. In doing so, he seems interested in challenging the notion that art can often be inaccessible and alienating by re-emphasising the far-reaching impact that artistic visionaries have on all members of society. It remains to be seen whether Manifesto works as a coherent narrative feature, but one thing we’re sure of is that it will boast 13 stunning lead performances. Blanchett fans couldn’t ask for much more.
Manifesto is released 24 November.
Published 18 Jan 2017
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