After a devastating WWI came Modernism in full force, and with it the modern woman who bobbed her hair, danced to jazz, and expected the same independence as men. Along with the new “wild” woman known as flappers came a new cultural trope, the vamp, the dangerous woman, later to be called femme fatale. These women were usually pared with women of traditional simple virtues for contrast. Vamps dressed in the latest modern clothes, casted spells on men, and sometimes tempted them to commit murder. The man who was “bewitched” was forgiven, and the blame went to the modern woman.
Made of footage from Night of the Hunter, Metropolis, Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, and Orphans of the Storm.
In 1792 my 4th great grandfather Antoine Lefevre brought his family to America to escape the chaos of the French Revolution. Rather than opting for the shelter of another city, they traded their comfortable Parisian home for land in the uncut wilderness west of the Appalachians mountains. Other Parisians followed and created a colony of exiled nobles, clergy, and bourgeoisie all living in very roughed conditions seventy-five miles from the nearest town. They called their colony French Asylum, or Azilum.
Antarctica is a collage of scratched and erased footage from world cinema, news reels, advertising, TV game shows, cartoons, and home movies marking the path of our own destruction. The protagonist is Antoine Doinel of Truffaut’s The 400 Blows who is still running from his damaged past. He is in exile, cut off from any livable place to call home. The polar ice on the continent of Antarctica is melting, but at the same time the location is an unattainable refuge, relatively untouched wilderness, a cool escape from a hot planet. His journey unfolds as a visual dreamscape through the history of cinema marked by ghosts who have been left behind.
Featuring manipulated footage from Stanley Kubrick’s Paths of Glory & G. W. Pabst’s West Front 1918, as well as excerpts from Johann Strauss’ Emperor Waltz. The waltz was composed in honor of the newly formed alliance of Austria’s emperor Franz Joseph I and Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm II.
Joie de guerre (joy of war) is a conundrum best illustrated by a quote by Henry Kissinger, “By war alone can we acquire those virile qualities necessary to win in the stern strife of actual life.”