ende

Burning Palace

The Art of Seduction - The Film

A stage, marble columns, the red curtain closes: “You only have a split second of a pose to multiply your transgression (1).” 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.
Photo: Mara Mattuschka

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.


Text: Andrea B. Braidt
Translation: Lisa Rosenblatt

(1) quote from: Katherina Zakravsky