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El Cadáver

El Cadaver Exquisito:  Poster


















An “Exquisite Corpse” combines documentary, fiction and experimental film-making as it traverses the social and oneiric landscape of a region struggling between modernity and tradition. It explores ritual and performance from festivals to everyday life combining the real and the surreal, the fantastical and the banal, that which is vital and that which is purely entertainment. The reenactment of rituals within changing crowds and contexts illuminates the complex striving for understanding and for giving meaning to the small acts of everyday life. They also glimpse the need for release and catharsis. The myths, as torrid and exuberant as the geography, are often more concrete than reality and during the autopsy the corpse itself reveals something more repugnant than death, the submission of the living to it. This fantastical collective biography explores the psyche of an individual reflecting a multitude. It immerses into a dense mythological universe by narrating the life of a being in the process of unbeing, a character becoming a corpse.

El Cadáver Exquisito | by Sarah Walko

El Cadáver Exquisito


El Cadaver Exquisito began as a seed of an idea but once it was
given birth it seemed we could only run to keep alongside its momentum.

I did a lot of writing for the film in the beginning as
Victor was shooting. We spoke of using a voice over, a narrator who
might tells its story like a fable. As the visuals and footage piled up
however, it was clear they wanted to be their own narrator.

The in studio footage we shot was also an aspect of the
film that took its own course. It served less as the ritual catharsis of
the documentary footage as we were planning to include - and more as
a ritual catharsis for us possibly as we worked through the
project trying to see it and digest its becoming, what it would be, who
it would be and how. Rossemberg embodied the rebirth in those
studio shoots. He worked beautifully and intensely within the sets. The
film became itself in the editing room, where it put all of its pieces
back together again, another rebirth of a splintered body.

As Elric made giant strides in the editing room and the
film siphoned down I reviewed it several times, watching its form
becoming. With each session in front of the footage, more stories
revealed themselves and more of the substance of the film surfaced. It
seemed every time i re-watched it, it gave more and more and asked more
of me. As the film entered into post production Victor and I worked to
find the right words for the synopsis and to convey how it became by
walking backwards from where we were then to its inception and our trip
to El Salvador in 2008.

For the piano recordings I had footage of the film that i
set up next to the piano. Sometimes I played and recorded while i
watched. Other times I would watch and then shut it off, think about its
tone and then record. The piano music wanted to be a bit discordant,
repetitive and often simple. The visuals are so powerful in themselves,
the idea of musical accompaniment seemed competitive or worse, a
flourish that would detract, therefore it felt like the footage asked
for a minimal tone it could vibrate within.

by Sarah Walko


Garage, Screening Rooms, Prevue Room, Sombra, El Cadaver Ecquisito

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