Communism, Dadaism, Futurism, Fluxus, Minimalism, Surrealism, Pop Art... Declarations drawn from some 60 published artistic and/or political manifestos spring from the mouths of 13 vividly realised fictional characters in Manifesto. Each is played, in a dazzling feat of chameleon artistry, by Cate Blanchett. German artist Julian Rosefeldt’s film, drawn from his widely travelled multi-screen installation, plants each of these characters within a marvellously precise theatrical setting.
A Russian choreographer schools her dancers on Fluxus philosophy; a TV anchor woman delivers Sol LeWitt’s notes on Conceptual Art; a pre-school teacher recites the rules of Dogma 95 as she corrects her pupils’ work, adding instructive notes from Jim Jarmusch, Stan Brakhage and Werner Herzog.
“In Manifesto, viewers have the rare chance to catch Blanchett in the flow, vibrating with the thrill of every actor’s illusive mistress: Discovery. But to focus solely on Blanchett would do Manifesto a disservice. The project is that rare piece of art that uses a simple concept, executed beautifully, to communicate abstract ideas. Rosefeldt combines theater, film, and literature to create a remarkable meditation on the purpose of art. If itsounds heady, take heart –it’s also pretty entertaining.”— Jude Dry, Indiewire
“Whereas a single manifesto rigidly demands creativity within constraints, this maelstrom of competing rules and regulations encourages viewers to take a stand and consider their own aesthetic.”— Peter Debruge, Variety