• International Competition

A model family in a model home

Zoe Beloff

The film opens with a voice that sounds remote and yet as sharp as the drawings that accompany it: this is Bertold Brecht’s voice, recorded on October 30th 1947. The writer has been called to testify before the House Un-American Activ- ities Committee, whose mission was to hunt down and prosecute any trace of Communism in the Hollywood dream machine. Then a flashback to 1941: Brecht has just arrived in Los Angeles and starts a film project based on an article in Life, which tells the story of a family taking part in a fair to show the daily lives of a “model family” of Midwest farmers. With its visual interplay, its conversation between film and theatre, its reversing of roles between actor and spectator, and its representation of an iconic American home seen as a script, the story was fascinating to the playwright.
Moving from the forties to the present time, Zoe Beloff investigates this film that never made it beyond draft stage. This documentary draws from a rich array of materials commented by the director, including readings of Brecht’s notes, distan- ciated re-enactments using drawings and puppets, photographs from Life (shot by another exile, Alfred Einsenstaedt), recordings, home movies or promotional shots. The narrative continues Brecht’s initial gesture into the present day: Beloff unfolds the multiple facets of the home as a crystallisation of the American Way of Life and of capitalism. Running up to the 2008 crisis and its consequences, the investigation skips from landscape to landscape until today’s suburban residential estates: a template and a setting for confiscated lives. (NF)

  • International Competition

Technical sheet

USA, 2015, Colour, 16 mm, Mono, 22’

Original version : english
Script : Zoe Beloff
Photography : Eric Muzzy
Editing, sound : Zoe Beloff

Casting Vladimir Weigl

Production & distribution : Zoe Beloff

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