Portrait of Karl Marx as a young god
The film "Portrait of Karl Marx as a young god" consists of collages and drawings which are presented with voiceover comments. The images visualize specific reminiscences from recent German history, while the voiceover extends and counteracts these images with a multitude of interpretations.
”Obviously, it is a fiction, but I actually think of it as a documentary. It is a documentary work on a desire. A desire for utopia, for Marxism, for a different society. And what makes it feel documentary to me is its absurdity. It is this moment when you say to yourself, this cannot be real – that is a reaction you only have when confronted with a reality. This sense of irreality is never produced by a fiction.
The voice says: “Portrait of Karl Marx as a young god, it says.” “It says” – as if the speaker was not the author. Where did it come from, this distance?
“The film deals with this absurdity and this distance. The problem then is: how do you tell a story about this absurdity? You need the images to do it. Language is too excluding, it tends to abolish the real absurdity, tends to translate the desire into a doctrine, the very coherence of which produces a new and different kind of absurdity, the one proper to fundamentalism. How do you tell the story without reducing it to a new form of limiting representation? And a story about desire for Marxism and humanism and utopia is even more difficult. Because: how make a story about humanism when humanism has become a joke? How tell about utopia when utopia is condemned?
The use of a telephone is significant in this film, I mean the fact that he speaks over the phone. The typical sound of the voice over the phone marks a distance. An open ended distance actually, since there can be no one at the other end of the line. It is a monologue, so no one is actually needed – there is no place for any one else. But still, since it is over the phone, there is also the (absurd) idea that someone could reply or give an answer.“
Published 2010 at tsnok.se