Continuing his research into European canon, its concepts, history and grey areas, (Daphne and Thomas, FID 2019), Assaf Gruber is our tour guide. Rude Witness – after Transient Witness– takes us in a van stuffed with artworks, which we learn have been stolen from the famous Green Vault of the Dresden State Art Collections (SKD), back to this same museum, seen here clearly as a domestic space. In this film, which cultivates a dry sense of humour and borrows from the codes of detective movies, we follow a very strange thief flanked by his imposing dog, who’s transformed from a museum visitor into the master of his territory. Poking fun at the mocking gaze of the oriental-inspired caryatids welcoming visitors to the building, Gruber multiplies the slip-ups to recast actions that Art History sometimes has trouble distinguishing: collecting and stealing. The shifts challenge the notions of heritage, attribution, rights and loss that shape the history of art’s dominant narratives, with the looting off-screen. What has been repressed is back in this story of putting things in a box (in showcases). The museum’s artefacts and areas, stripped of the conventional museum distinction of seeing and doing, are jestingly reactivated. Moving from one thief to the other, from the dead to the living, to the aptly named dog Präsens (Present Tense in Geman), the film tells a story of interlocking devouring, mirroring Chad Gadya, the nursery rhyme sung in Italian, where each creature, from the mouse to the cat, from the cat to the dog and so on, ends up being defeated in the following verse.
Original version : italian, german
Subtitles : english
Script : Assaf Gruber
Photography : Frank Meyer
Editing : Janina Herhoffer, Dane Komljen, Assaf Gruber
Music : Yennu Ariendra, J Mo’ong Santosa Pribadi
Sound : Jochen Jezussek
Casting : Michele Andrei, Sabine Wackernagel
Production : Caroline Kirberg (Kirberg Motors), Assaf Gruber.
Transient Witness, 2021
Daphne and Thomas, 2019
The Conspicuous Parts, 2018.
The Calling, 2017
The Right, 2016.
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