After the declaration of armistice of 1918, Professor Aby Warburg sank deep into psychosis. In his various hallucinations, he had visions of a Hopi Indian encountered two decades earlier in Arizona. Memories of the professor’s intellectual war swirl and mix with recollections of the Hopi warrior sharing snipets of his life on the reservation and on France’s eastern front. In his madness, Dr. Warburg is haunted by images of nightmares, massacres, and anti-Semitic persecutions of premonitory violence. In a half-real, half-imaginary world, he expresses himself in an unknown tongue that melds with Hopi voices foretelling the end of the world, whilst they are being exterminated and contained on a reservation. Their children are forced to a civilizing education in military schools, only to be sent to war.
We find them in France in 1917.
The film interweaves reality and historic documents with fantastical narrative and free interpretations. The extraordinary stock of images and texts that Ary Warburg left us mixes with this first-ever view of Native Americans on the war front in WWI. Natacha Nisic