Uprooting Ghosts: A Queer "Fantasia on National Themes"
43’07” | Experimental
Austria | 2017
Watch it on vimeo
It's year 1971, Warsaw. Walking around the city, Andrzej encounters ghosts of his parents, of his childhood friends, and of the victims of the state’s 1967-68 anti-Jewish propaganda, which led to the forced emigration of several thousand Polish Jews. One of them is his close friend, Maks, who, after an alleged suicide, is identified by a police investigator as “homosexual.” It's year 1967, Warsaw. A group of former medicine students celebrate their graduation anniversary. They share a history of being accused of a serious offence against the state for messing up the installation of a gigantic portrait of Stalin. It's year 1957, Budapest. Éva Szalánczky, a black-listed political journalist, is on her way to a job interview at a state-controlled weekly journal. There, she meets Livia, with whom she starts a relationship, recognized by the state as “lesbian” and therefore illicit. Both Éva and Livia are played by Polish actresses.
A mash-up of experimental re-searching, Uprooting Ghosts: A Queer “Fantasia on National Themes” aims to capture the oppressive mood of 1952-1989 political and social realities in Poland and Hungary through contaminating/queering found-footage material with fragments of queer desire, auto-ethnography, and mix-tape editing aesthetic. The work combines samples of three Polish and Hungarian films: Hands Up! (dir. Jerzy Skolimowski, 1982), How Far Away, How Near (dir. Tadeusz Konwicki, 1971), and Another Way (dir. Karoly Makk & Janos Xantus, 1982), along with more than a dozen other films, texts, songs, and sounds.
The images come from the following sources:
(a, b, c, d, 4) Arrebato (dir. Iván Zulueta, 1979)
(3, 5, 6, 7) Jak daleko stąd, jak blisko (How Far Away from Here, How Near, dir. Tadeusz Konwicki, 1971)
(2) Egymásra nézve (Another Way, dir. Károly Makk, 1982)
(1, 8) Ręce do góry (Hands up!, dir. Jerzy Skolimowski, 1967-1981)
2019: exhibition Queerinarchive, Kino Klub (Split)
2017: 21er Haus (Vienna), 8th Alchemy Film & Moving Image Festival (Hawick), 7th Fringe Queer Film Festival (London), The Venice Biennale's Research Pavilion, Unseen Festival (Denver)