This is not a film review for this is not, in the conventional, mainstream perspective, a film. What Manifesto is, moreover, is an amalgamation of ideas and movements from the greatest art thinkers of different periods set with contemporary scenarios. Manifesto is quite literally a manifesto of a new kind of consideration of art and life and man and reality that is spearheaded astutely by the movements of the past.
“Dadaism is shit… Art is power. the role of the artist can only be that of the revolutionary. We are nothing.”
Manifesto breezes through these concepts. Surprisingly, given its early form as a thirteen-screen art installation, it never feels slow. Nor does it feel like watching a film – there is no storyline, no concrete characterisation, no defined conclusion. Manifesto’s power is in its words, delivered with exhilarating authority by a tour-de-force Cate Blanchett.
Manifesto’s spectacle is founded in its form of one single actor shifting and changing into thirteen extremely diverse characters to deliver and emulate each school of thought. Cate Blanchett was the perfect choice. From pure narration over pan shots to interacting with herself for the news, Blanchett commands the camera and your attention — she delivers each idea with such vindication, such true dominance, that it will stick with you far after the screen fades to black.
Blanchett’s performance is guided with flair and such subtle precision by artist/writer/director Julian Rosefeldt.
The visuals in Manifesto seem purposefully quaint, quiet and never too commandeering to distract from the words’ import. The concepts and visuals, such as a funeral speaker and dadaism, marry up perfectly.
Manifesto may not be a film how we like to think of films, it is a think piece, moreover it is art — and everything, as the film closes with, that film should strive to be at the root of it all, important.