Oh to Believe in Another World
Oh To Believe in Another World
A FILM FOR SHOSTAKOVICH'S SYMPHONY N°10
Commissioned by the Luzerner Sinfonieorchester, Oh, to Believe in Another World is a film by William Kentridge designed to be presented as a dynamic visual counterpoint to Dimitri Shostakovich's Symphony No. 10. The music expresses the composer's personal triumph at having survived Stalin's dictatorship. The film illuminates, interrogates and honours it, finding something that does not turn the symphony into film music - a series of images and narratives that overwhelm the music itself; nor have something that disappears, that runs simply as series of anodyne backdrops.
The film is set inside what appears to be an abandoned Soviet museum, which in fact is made of cardboard, on the table in the artist’s studio (at times there are fragments of the studio visible). Using a miniature camera, we move through the different halls of the museum, which also include a community theatre hall, a public swimming pool, a quarry at the side of the main halls of the museum. A corridor of vitrines holding stuffed historical figures.
The central characters of the film are Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin; Shostakovich and his student Elmira Nazirova (about which there are different theories regarding her relationship with Shostakovich and the 10th Symphony and whether her name is embedded into some of the key signatures of the symphony); Mayakovsky and his lover Lily Brik. These characters appear as puppets, but are also performed by actors inside of puppets. The form is one of collage, and the larger proposition is that one needs to understand history as a form of collage. The artistic medium is a way of thinking about the historical events.
The task of the project is to try to show within the visual film some of the ambiguities Shostakovich had to negotiate, not just in this symphony, but in all the work that he made. We have to find a way to both acknowledge the independence of the music - that it exists now in the post-Soviet era (we can still feel the emotional journey of the symphony, independent of its historical moorings); but at the same time acknowledge the particular character of the era from which it comes.
2022-06-29 00:00:00 2022-06-30 00:00:00 - Teatro Grande Pompei, in the Archaeological Park of Pompeii, Pompeii - Italy
2022-06-15 00:00:00 2022-06-15 00:00:00 - KKL Luzern, Luzern - Switzerland
Director and Concept : William Kentridge
Costume & Puppet Design : Greta Goiris
Set Design : Sabine Theunissen
Video Editing : Žana Marović, Janus Fouché, Josh Trappler
Studio Technical Director : Chris-Waldo de Wet
Cinematography : Duško Marović
Costume Fabricators : Emmanuelle Erhart, Judith Stockart
Produced by THE OFFICE performing arts + Film www.theofficearts.com
Toured in collaboration with Luzerner Sinfonieorchester
Represented by Quaternaire www.quaternaire.org