Manifesto began as an art installation in 2015, where thirteen screens simultaneously played thirteen short films of Cate Blanchett performing various manifestos to various audiences (some directly to the viewer, some to other characters). The director has since edited these shorts together to produce a feature film, the film we now know as Manifesto.
It sounds like it should fail but bare with me… it does.
The concept may have worked fabulously as an installation and if so, wonderful! But as a film, it’s too bloated for it’s own good. People sometimes forget that if you want to get your message or ideas heard, people need to be listening, and no one’s listening if they’re thinking about drying paint by the 10 minute mark.
The way the scenes are presented and the way Blanchett delivers these performances, you’d almost think the director was taking a jab at the art world, in a comedic sense (and the fact that one of the manifestos is presented like a running gag in a sketch show does not help). I’d be all for this comedic jab if it was funny or… intentional. The sad part is that it walks the line of being funny but still seeming serious. They could’ve easily marketed this as a satire of the art world and have it be a below-average comedy.
If you’re a fan of Cate Blanchett, you may delight in seeing her in a new light thirteen times in the span of an hour. But this film may have stained my impression of her from now on. Lord of the Rings will never be the same…
It’s always nice to experiment and I give thanks to those who do, because the whole reason we experiment is to find out what does and doesn’t work. And Manifesto does not work, despite all its pretty cinematography and good sound design.
1.5 / 5 Blanchetts
What did you think of Manifesto?
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