A stage, marble columns, the red curtain closes: "You only have a split second of a pose to multiply your transgression." This first statement introducing the opening sequence sounds like provocative instructions. The game of five figures ensnared in erotic innuendos is more appearance than reality: the pornographic poses can be interpreted as sexual simply by the shadows they cast. In the glowing light, they are actually five protagonists warming up for a night in the "Burning Palace" Hotel.
Precise physical work with the body has seldom experienced such a condensed cinematic counterpart as it does in Mattuschka´s/Haring´s new film. In subtle tableaux vivants sweaty bodies awake from a turbulent, dream-filled night at the hotel, loll male and female bodies out of grotesque poses into a scene of border transgression: between objects and bodies, sounds and melodies, and genders arise those categorical transgressions and shifts so typical for Mattuschka. A mimetic communication takes place between the beings (are they really people?) populating this palace in an urgency of gestures entirely characteristic of the filmmaker, which is seemingly produced through the immense, yet astonishingly discrete proximity of the camera to the bodies.
The alienated soundscape of breathing, singing, and speaking provides the logical architecture for the visual development, and determines the chronology of the events, the carnivalesque of the gestures, and the materiality of the bodies with an increasing uncanniness (the palace as hotel, as heterotopia). From "Paris is Burning" to this Burning Palace: it´s just a stone´s throw.
(Andrea B. Braidt)
Translation: Lisa Rosenblatt
Mattuschka skillfully reveals how film works: At the beginning of Burning Palace the dancers´ physical performance engages in a complex interplay with the power of cinema as a technology of animation and projection. Silhouettes of tableaux vivants herald the scenes that follow, in which the fantasies of waking hotel guests are staged as grotesque poses and physical transgressions. The dark outlines of dancers warming up backstage appear on the closed stage curtain, as an illusion of unleashed erotic postures. When the shadow projections dovetail with the slow movements of real bodies, the imaginative power of filmic shots is revealed: What lies off-screen is always part of the spectator´s imagination.
All of these work deal somewhat with a fake factor. Part Time Heroes handles the star concept, in a larger than life way; Running Sushi refers to comics and manga. Burning Palace, on the other hand, is based on The Art of Seduction. (…) For the human body to remain interesting, one must constantly put it in a different light or in another context. One has to look at the body sideways. With this, one achieves a large choreographic change in perspective, because everything is altered. In another context, one also experiences the body in a new way, already because you view it differently.
Burning Palace turned out to be a melancholy film. Here, I introduced five people who are in a show at a bar, who live in this hotel and have very different relationships with one another. After the show – they are already sleeping – they are woken by Pan for the night and therefore wake up to the destruction that is held within them. This often has a sexual origin or it´s mixed in together.
Printgrafik: burning palace 4.jpg
english print version