Danski šminkerski art-film o brisanju granice između umjetnosti i terorizma. Nastavljanje kontroverzne Stockhausenove izjave da je napad 11. 9. najveće umjetničko djelo svih vremena. Plus varijacija na Markerov La Jetée.
Zentropa, Electric Park and Filmmagasinet Ekko present
THE SECRET SOCIETY OF FINE ARTS
A FILM ABOUT ART AND TERROR
BY ANDERS RØNNOW KLARLUND
Featuring Jana Klinge, Christian Blümel, Susanne Wuest and Daniel Zillmann
The German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen caused a worldwide scandal when he described the terror attacks on 9/11 as “the greatest work of art there has ever been”. In The Secret Society of Fine Arts, Anders Rønnow Klarlund picks up where Stockhausen left off.
A group of underground artists blow up Berlin’s zoological museum and declare it “a work of art”. Their goal is to set beauty free. The unrelenting passion fascinates actress Eva Kovacs, who joins the group. But how do you draw the line between art and terror? Does it take cynical terror attacks to attract the media’s attention? And have we become so distanced and cold that it takes something completely extraordinary to make us really sense the world again?
Anders Rønnow Klarlund (41) has time and time again pushed the boundaries of filmmaking, as in the multi-plot piece The Eighteenth about the riots in the wake of the Danish Maastricht Treaty referendum on May 18, 1993, the allegoric puppet film Strings (2004) and the vicious political satire How to Get Rid of the Others (2007). His new film, The Secret Society of Fine Arts, is unparalleled in Danish cinema.
This time, Klarlund eliminates the medium's most vital element – the moving images – and sharpens our senses by telling his story through hundreds of breathtaking still photos. The photos have been manipulated in a 3D space. The extra dimension makes it look like 3D, except you don't need the glasses! The still photo method is inspired by Chris Marker's French classic La Jetée, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.
The film was filmed and takes place in Berlin with German actors in the leading roles. Given that the film concerns itself with international terror, it is entirely in English.
The Secret Society of Fine Arts is created by director and author Anders Rønnow Klarlund. The film is produced by Louise Vesth, Ida Marie Harder Jeppesen and Katja Adomeit for Zentropa with the support of New Danish Screen at The Danish Film Institute.
The Secret Society of Fine Arts is released August 29 with the new issue of Filmmagasinet Ekko on a DVD, which also includes La Jetée.
The Secret Society of Fine Arts is a film about art and terror, told through 3D manipulated still photos, and written and directed by Anders Rønnow Klarlund.
The line between terror and art is literally blown to pieces when a group of underground artists detonate a huge amount of explosives in the basement under Berlin's zoological museum and afterwards declare it “a piece of art”.
Their goal is to set beauty free, and the group is ruthless in their methods and their passion. Perhaps it's exactly this “ruthlessness” that fascinates the unemployed actress Eva Kovacs. Soon she becomes a member of the group and falls in love with the leader, Louis.
The acts of vandalism against major buildings make for good headlines. The images of their “first great piece of art” go around the world, and the young artists are soon wanted by the police, accused of committing acts of terror. The group of artists, however, continue their fatal mission to save what they call “a humanity, which has been lulled to sleep by entertainment, by reality-shows and materialism.”
It’s a very special thing, which I have never tried before: Making a film not at all for the sake of others, the audience’s taste or their need of entertainment.
This film is exactly as I wanted it to be. It’s a a film exactly as I think a film should be in the year 2012: New, pushing the boundaries. You have to sacrifice something. Everything else is too easy and too dull. I have sacrificed movement, the basic substance of film. Why? The audience needs to be challenged and to be able to challenge the audience, I have to challenge myself.
Some say that I have made a film with still photos. I don't understand this. There are a lot of emotions. There is flow, passion, feelings. And above all, there is a group of young artists who out of both horror and envy start their own fight against terror.
We know the images: Skyscrapers collapsing, people driven from their homes, missiles in the air, recordings of destroyed cities captured by unmanned drones and burnt out tanks. Images that are used by the news media purely as entertainment. Again and again. Night after night. 24/7.
There is basically no difference between how the news media and Hollywood exploit the aesthetics of violence. And when neither news or fiction concern themselves with human suffering, only art is left.
The artist group in the film aim to beat the terrorists on their own turf by creating superior aesthetics, superior art than that of the terrorists. They wish to wake up the drowsing humanity. And I would like to help them with this aspiration.
Anders Rønnow Klarlund, August 2012
MAKING THE FILM
Mikkel Østergaard, cinematographer:
“We started in Kenya and shot simultaneously on five cameras mounted on a rig. We have played around and tried different things, been way out in the deep end. We ended up in Berlin and discovered that the still photos work best when the scenes are relatively simple. We need to be right in the face of the actors, the expression needs to be intimate. I'm not a trained cinematographer, and I had never read a screenplay, when Anders called and asked if I wanted to be part of it. My first thought was that it would end up as a boring slide show. It became something completely different. Still photos give the brain room to absorb the story and the sound in a completely different way.”
David Drachmann, production designer:
“It started out a small project – a small film with a tiny budget. The game became more serious when it evolved into a feature film. But the goal had always been to break new ground, and together we tried to explore what this particular format could do, which traditional films can’t. We discussed empathy, because as normal films meet all the anticipations of the audience with the moving images, you never really know what to expect with this movie. But just as often we discussed the themes, terror, art, and everything in between. Anders is an artist who bridges the gap between the visual and the thematic level.”
Leif Axel Kjeldsen, editor:
“I have edited films for more than 30 years. The Secret Society of Fine Arts is one of the most difficult works I’ve ever layed my hands on. We had the photos, we had the dialogue, but nothing more. It took a lot from our imagination. What could the image do for us? What is this method able to? For how long? We’ve had to invent this from the bottom, and I don’t know how many times Anders has told me: ‘Make a suggestion!’ We also worked together on Strings, and it has been fantastic both times.”
WHY IS EKKO RELEASING THIS FILM?
Filmmagasinet Ekko has published a DVD with each new issue of the magazine for the last four years. Some have been collections of short films which have not previously been released – such as Super 16 Best Of and Nordisk Short Films – while others have been international artfilms as Palme d’Or winner 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days and Academy Award winner A Separation. Last year, we arranged a fundraising campaign among our readers to help the production company Nordisk Film restore Jonas Elmer’s Danish cult film Let’s Get Lost in order to send it out on DVD 14 years after its theatrical release.
With the release of Anders Rønnow Klarlund’s The Secret Society of Fine Arts, Ekko takes this endeavour to the next level by distributing a brand new Danish film along with the magazine. Danish art films have a hard time reaching audiences these years, and this is why we are eager to use the magazine so that these films can reach our readers who are especially preoccupied with challenging art films.
In film after film, Anders Rønnow Klarlund has curiously and daringly experimented with the language of cinema. The result has always been thought-provoking. This does not least apply to The Secret Society of Fine Arts, in which he discards the most important element of filmmaking – moving images – to tell his drama through still photos which come alive in their own way.
The film is produced with the support of The Danish Film Institute’s New Danish Screen program, which plays an important role in Danish film. New Danish Screen is designed to “ensure that new generations of cinematic talents don’t restrict themselves to conventional, inherited expressions, but constantly strive to explore limits and create new experiences for the audiences,” as it is stated in their purpose.
At a time when Danish mainstream films are once again reaching large audiences, Filmmagasinet Ekko wishes to strike a blow for the small, original and challenging films attempting to break new ground. They offer a vast amount of inspiration and experiences. Without these unique pieces of art, Danish cinema would be impoverished.
Claus Christensen, editor in chief
Anders Rønnow Klarlund (director and writer, b. 1971) is an autodidactic Danish director who time and time again has challenged the narrative conventions of cinema. He made his debut in 1996 with the partly privately financed multi-plot film The Eighteenth about the riots in the wake of the Danish Maastricht Treaty referendum on May 18, 1993. In 1999, the science fiction horror movie Possessed followed, and in 2004 he made the ambitious, epic puppet film Strings. In 2007, he sparked controversy with the vicious political satire How to Get Rid of the Others which was later staged at Aarhus Theater.
Klarlund is also an author. In his first novel, De hengivne (The Devout) from 2009, the director Anders Rønnow Klarlund shows up as a character who is killed in gory fashion. In 2010, under the pseudonym A.J. Kazinski, he published the crime novel Den sidste gode mand (The Last Good Man) with Jacob Weinreich. The book was sold to 22 countries and won a Prix Relay as the best book of the year in France. The duo’s follow-up, Søvnen og døden (The Sleep and the Death) was recently released. Klarlund’s second novel in his own name, Hvorfor jeg forlod dig (Why I left) is being released in March 2013 by Politiken’s publishing house.