Tommaso Bertani, Federica Schiavo
Ring Film, Federica Schiavo Gallery, Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève
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An evocation of the God of war introduces the film. A framework ties together and abstracts seven portraits of Liberian warriors from their con- text. Through a series of first person accounts, their voices present war as an ineluctable human expression of destructive forces that are, at the same time, universal and individual, real and archetypical.
Fragment 53 is a feature-length documentary film on war considered in its necessary and universal dimension, faced both as an actual and archetypical event. The phenomenon has been investigated on the field in Liberia, a country of peculiar, radical and unsettled conflicts, presenting sceneries, personalities and events ascribable to the essential warfare that the authors aim to evoke.
The film develops through a set of first-person ac- counts selected from a wider amount of interviews with eminent warriors, generals and warlords collected in Liberia between 2011 and 2014.Seven self-contained portraits are presented one after the other, introduced by a voice-off statement from the authors and followed by an epilogue composed by nocturnal images on a set of quotations from former General Philip Wlue’s vision of the world.
The first person accounts of the warriors are collected and portrayed from a very close angle and position.
Through a bare and restless use of a hand camera insisting on their bodies and faces, this approach maintains a continuous tightness between these fighters’ accounts and the eye of the camera. Any personal and historical context is excluded from their tales in order to elevate them to a wider and impersonal dimension. This concept leads also the editing of the film that shows a series of isolated, self sufficient and not intercommunicating portraits built through jump cuts and not naturalistic close-up frames.