Schneewittchen / Snow White
What happens to the body, when a dictator dies? It seems to be reasonable to keep the dictators body, proving the transition of power to the new leaders. Something similar happens to trophies that hunters once gathered to remember their successful hunt. However this linkage is hidden away when the same trophies became exhibits of a museum and subjects of an educational presentation.
„Schneewittchen/ Snow White“ examines the role of culture when dead bodies are not buried, but kept to achieve a specific purpose after death. What connection exists between Stalinist mausoleums (like Lenin’s or Mao’s), stuffed animals in natural history museums and religious practices, such as relics or ornamental designs made of bones?
The power over nature, over mortality, as ultimate power is placed symbolically on display. It is the refusal of the fact having to die at some point. To be understood also as a political gesture, that an end of their own domination is not necessarily a natural consequence, as a cycle of nature is. Even if cultural legacies cannot entirely escape a decline, tombs of absolute leaders, as an example may be mentioned the Egyptian pyramids, are the greatest examples of this resistance against its own transience.
The film exposes also the formal side of storytelling. The narrators voice is speaking a text which is coming from many different sources – be it an almost theatrical play at the arrival of catacomb martyrs in a church, rumours about the circumstances of the dictator‘s death, objectivied language in wikipedia or a more poetic form of a fairy tale.
Museum architecture of the late 18th century represents the will to systematically sort the world. As known from industrial architecture sections of the building repeat constantly, uniformly, refer to the objectified measure outside of one’s body. The exhibition architecture consists of a uniform grid of identical glass boxes. They are used to store and protect exhibits and give a good view from all-round, but are also a measure of comparability and order among themselves. The underlying system of classification of the species was developed by Carl von Linné shortly before the appearance and popularization of these museums and is still a valid system.
Will for power and shaping force can be found in all of the analyzed architectures. In this world, all means are allowed, be it magic, tricks, propaganda, technology or science. A story is told, in which the main character could come to life at any time. This spatial proximity to a dangerous animal or a known dictator, which looks so vivid that it could always wake up again, puts the viewer in an uncomfortable situation. One has to believe a convincing legend – to stand in front of the real body.
The aura of the original plays a certain role, which we are talking about in the Arts and which is present especially with a visual icon, as Lenin’s body. We can approach an original object, that exists with an apparent materiality and dimension. And there is the fascination, to be confronted with an organism, that is no longer living – which is so well preserved, using modern technology or something that is close to magic. A form of immortality, not to be mistaken for liveliness, can be experienced with one’s own senses, occurs at a place that was once reserved for religion.
Stuttgarter Filmwinter – Festival Screening. Stuttgart/Germany
Selected for catalogue of AG Kurzfilm (German Short Film Association) as one of the best 100 short films 2017
XI. İSTANBUL INTERNATIONAL ARCHITECTURE AND URBAN FILMS FESTIVAL – Festival Screening. Istanbul/Turkey
EMAF EUROPEAN MEDIA ARTS FESTIVAL – Festival Screening (Premiere), Osnabrück/Germany – Nomininated for the EMAF Media Arts Award of the German Film Critics Association (VDFK)
VIDEOSOUNDART – Three channel video installation at Teatro Franco Parenti. Milano/Italy