Cate Blanchett is Every Woman in Trippy Art Piece

Cate Blanchett practically eats the camera lens in “Manifesto,” a feature film by artist Julian Rosefeldt that began life as an installation at the Park Avenue Armory exhibition in Manhattan. Blanchett plays 13 distinct characters who deliver various manifestos, and these range from Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels preaching economics in the mid-19th century to the rules of filmmaking issued by director Jim Jarmusch in 2004.

The surprise here is that Rosefeldt has managed to deliver an intellectually charged, cheeky, and very funny film that feels unruly and expansive despite its tight 12-day filming schedule and focus on one performer. Blanchett is first seen playing the role of a homeless man walking through a devastated industrial landscape in Berlin, and we hear him on the soundtrack utter the words of Marx and Engels, who claimed in 1848 that capitalism was at stake. breathless.

Then we see Blanchett as an office drone on the stock exchange, and his voice tells us, “The suffering of a man interests us as much as the suffering of a flashlight,” which is a line from a manifesto on the futurism. The painting. Rosefeldt places her camera high above the purse to show us how this woman disappears in row after row of people reduced to objects, or numbers.

Blanchett isn’t afraid as a performer, and she has such an appetite for acting that she tears up every character she plays in “Manifesto” as if she is greedily removing meat from chicken thighs. , then threw the bones over his shoulder. . She’s such an acting prodigy that she needs to be properly challenged, and “Manifesto” is such a difficult and unlikely project that Blanchett uses her talent like she’s never done before, splashing it all over the place. ‘screen and making bold gestures that only become physically. exaggerated when she plays an Eastern European choreographer in a turban.

(Blanchett is definitely the kind of irresistible acting beast who sometimes asks a director to say things to him like, “You have to cut down on those quick arm movements.”)

Much of the humor and sense of “Manifesto” emerges from the contrast of Blanchett’s characters with her surroundings and with the words she speaks, which is why she gets her biggest laughs here when launching into a utterance. of angry Dadaist mission as a eulogy. , uttering those funny and inappropriate words in an obviously emotional, serious and furious manner. So many of these manifestos are anti-establishment, and almost all of them are fueled by the urge to break existing norms and come back or create some sort of pure artistic state.

On the one hand, Blanchett herself is the kind of decadent artist that all of her characters in this film obsessively denounce, and so it’s often hilarious to hear her constantly calling for the abolition of the very type of art that it is. so flashly practicing. On the other hand, Blanchett has a naturally destructive and anarchic sensibility that lends itself very well to rebellious postures, especially for the character who suits her best: a rampaging and drunk British goth rock-and-roll singer who has a tattoo of Peter. Lorre in “Mad Love” (1935) on his left shoulder and also on the inside of his right arm. Lorre’s elongated face hovers at one point near Blanchett’s harshly made-up face as she states his “confidence is unshakable,” and it’s great fun as it looks like one classic ham actor is watching another. .

Rosefeldt provides considerable guiding intelligence in “Manifesto” and maintains tight control over material that could easily dissolve into chaos. “The instinct of art is always primitive,” says Blanchett when she embodies a rich art collector, a lady who also cries: “No to the seduction of the spectator by the tricks of the performer!” This is one of the most ironic moments of “Manifesto” because the style of Blanchett here is of course only tricks, seductions and flourishes.

‘Manifesto’ ends perhaps in its wittiest streak, as Blanchett plays an art teacher who quotes French director Jean-Luc Godard to his children and insists “nothing is original” before to hit them with directly contradictory quotes about the authenticity of the movie Dogma 95 movement of the 90s. In the closing moments of “Manifesto,” Blanchett’s characters are all present onscreen in individual panels and they all speak in same time, which gives a suitable climax to a movie that is a journey in the best possible direction.