Cate Blanchett delivers a series of art and political manifestos as a variety of characters.
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I'm writing a manifesto because I have nothing to say. I speak only of myself since I do not wish to convince. I have no right to drag others into my river. I oblige no one to follow me. And everyone practices his art in his own way, if he knows the joy that rises like arrows to the astral layers, or that other joy that goes down into the minds of corpse flowers and fertile spasms. Does anyone think he has found a psychic base common to all mankind? How can one expect to put order into the chaos that constitutes that infinite and shapeless variation... Man?
Widow's address at the cemetery:
... We will put an end to mourning, and replace tears by sirens screeching
from one continent to another. Pavilions of intense joy and widowers with the sadness of poison. To lick the penumbra and float in the big mouth filled with honey and excrement. I spread demoralization wherever I go, and cast my hand from heaven to hell, my eyes from hell to heaven. One dies as a hero or as an idiot, which is the same thing. The only word that is not ephemeral is the word death. You probably enjoy life, but you've got some bad habits. You're too fond of what you've been taught to be fond of. Cemeteries, melancholy, the tragic lover, Venetian gondolas. You shout at the moon. If you weren't so cowardly, sinking under the weight of all those lofty thoughts or non-existent abstractions you've been forced into, all that nonsense dressed up as dogman, you'd stand up straight and play the massacre game, just like we do. But you're too scared ...
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The film integrates various types of artist manifestos from different time periods with contemporary scenarios. Manifestos are depicted by 13 different characters, among them a school teacher, factory worker, choreographer, punk, newsreader, scientist, puppeteer, widow, and a homeless man.
The film consists of 13 segments, each 10:30 minutes long. In each, a character recites parts of manifestos of various political or artistic movements.
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