About the Film
A unique experiment that combines film and philosophy, German director Julian Rosefeldt’s significant directorial debut stands out both formally and thematically. Before making the film, Rosefeldt had presented Manifesto onstage for two consecutive years, which initially drove producers to adopt the project.
The beauty of this work relies heavily on the unparalleled acting finesse of Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett, who, with searing skill, portrays 13 wildly different characters, often becoming unrecognizable. With this film, Blanchett doesn’t only prove her range as an actress, but also her intellectual capacity and passion for cinema, which
allowed her to embrace a film like this one, its fate in the market pre-sealed.
“Nothing is original.” One of the thrilling revelations in Rosefeldt’s film, spoken by Blanchett from a text by Jim Jarmusch. This is only one of the many manifestos presented across the film’s vignettes, from Karl Marx to André Breton to Dogme 95, all shot in disconnected settings that seemingly have nothing to do with the words being
spoken. Blanchett jumps from inhabiting the character of a homeless man to a school teacher to a factory worker to a dance instructor with incredible ease.
Ultimately, Manifesto abandons all traditional narrative structures, exploring instead the very nature of artistic expression, and the virtue of telling stories at all. This is indeed an impressive work, not only for Blanchett’s stunning performance, but also the profound and cleverly selected texts being read, as well as the seamless movement of the camera across multiple locations, not to mention the brilliant makeup that transforms Blanchett in every segment. Yet the film doesn’t even stop here; it transcends its strong points to offer a lasting testament on art, interspersed with
valuable philosophical insights on humanity as a whole.
Julian Rosefeldt is a German film dirctor and video artist who lives and works in Berlin. Since 2001, he has held a professorship for Time-based Media at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. Exhibited extensively in museums and festivals worldwide, his work is included in renowned collections such as Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image Melbourne and the Museum of Modern Art New York.