Thirteen different Cate Blanchetts taking on thirteen very diverse roles, from a homeless man to a new reporter or a rock chick sick of it all — what else is new? Well, a lot. Julian Rosefeldt’s Manifesto is an overpowering eye candy, delighting our eyes and ears with wide shots from above and words that hit home so preciously. Manifesto is not for everyone, I know, but whom it addresses, it doesn’t just speak to, it screams.
I was expecting an ode to Cate Blanchett’s surreal acting abilities — which of course I got — but the Blanchett goldmine was really only the icing on Manifesto‘s cake. It didn’t seem to need anybody’s help in order to explode with beauty and power and significance, as Rosenfeldt seems to possess just as otherworldly capabilities as his lead actress herself. This is one hell of a collaboration — not only of talents, but also of images, words and music. The three are so magnificently intertwined that the right Manifesto viewer keeps getting chills down his spine throughout the 2-hour viewing.
And although every piece is just as powerful, two did stick with me more, so I’ll get into them a bit. First, the piece where Cate Blanchett is playing the traditional, religious housewife, setting the table for lunch and calling out on everyone several times to gather around the table. With her cardigan and low glasses, she starts saying Grace on behalf of everyone. Yet we soon realise that her God is not who we’d expect it to be, but rather it is Art that she is faithful to. She believes in Art just as blindly and passionately as others of her kind believe in some kind of God. Art is her religion, and her version of Grace is so unbelievably dynamic and chilling, as well as humorous, that it had me, and whoever was not asleep in the theatre, in tears.
Read at Unsung Films: .
Yes, a lot of people seemed to have fallen asleep, which didn’t really surprise me. The screen must have had at least 300 people and this is not a film for that wide of an audience on a nightly basis. It is a film that can go either way – it will either grab and never leave you, or it may barely brush past you, if not bore you to death. For me, and most likely for whoever is reading this, it has been an overwhelming experience, and certainly not one that could ever put me to sleep.
The other piece that really stood out for me was one where Blanchett was a news presenter, as well as a remote reporter on live TV, and the “two” of them were having the most unexpectedly hilarious conversation on — what else? — Art. It was unexpected, even if it so faithfully stuck to Manifesto‘s central theme, because it was so beautifully out of place and sarcastic, that now I can’t watch the news and take it seriously. And of course, Blanchett nailed this one too — the scene and Rosenfeldt’s film in general. But no news there.
Watch the trailer for Manifesto here: