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Film Screening and Roundtable: Josephine Meckseper, PELLEA[S] (2017-18)

Josephine Meckseper, artist

May 1, 2019 · 4:30 pm · Betts Auditorium

Program in European Cultural Studies

Josephine Meckseper’s 2017-18 film, PELLE[A]S (42 min.) condenses the action of the Belgian Symbolist playwright Maurice Maeterlinck’s 1892 drama Pelléas et Mélisande into eleven scenes set against the backdrop of the United States presidential inauguration on January 20, 2017, and the Women’s March the next day.

Filmed on location in Washington, DC, and in the artist’s New York studio, PELLEA[S] explores relations of gender and power in the context of political upheaval. Visually stunning in its treatment of architectural spaces and its engagement with the formal languages of twentieth-century cinema from Rossellini to Hitchcock to Fassbinder, the film features Arnold Schoenberg’s symphonic poem Pelleas und Melisande (1903) as its soundtrack, while a voiceover paraphrases the dramatic action and presents citations from the writings of French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan.

In addition to participating in a panel discussion with historian Michael Steinberg (Brown University) and ECS faculty members Brigid Doherty (German and Art & Archaeology), Jan-Werner Mueller (Politics), Spyros Papapetros (Architecture), and Effie Rentzou (French & Italian) following this screening, Josephine Meckseper will deliver a lecture about her work on April 30 at 4:30 PM in Betts Auditorium.


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