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Matthias Brunner “Magnificent Obsession”, Festa del Cinema di Roma, 2016

13th – 23rd October, 2016



As part of the eleventh edition of the Rome Film Festival, October 13-23, 2016 at the Auditorium Parco della Musica, In Between Art Film presents, in collaboration with the gallery Magazzino and the Kunsthaus Zürich, the video-installation Magnificent Obsession, created by the artist and Swiss director Matthias Brunner.


The moving-images of the installation are taken from 36 films from the ‘50s and ‘60s: never has the relationship between cinema and literature been as intense and passionate as during the Nouvelle Vague period.
Brunner has chosen some of the most significant film adaptations of literary masterpieces from great writers such as Marguerite Duras (“Hiroshima mon amour”), Alberto Moravia (“Boredom”) and Raymond Quenau (“Zazie in the Metro”), pairing them with films by directors with deep literary undertones, such as Claude Chabrol (“Le Beau Serge” and “Les Cousins”), Francois Truffaut (“The 400 Blows”), Alfred Hitchcook (“Birds” and “Marnie”), Elia Kazan (“Splendor in the Grass”), Louis Bunuel (“Diary of a Chambermaid” and “Belle de Jour”), Jean-Pierre Melville (“Léon Morin, Priest”).
For the realization of his work, the Swiss artist and filmmaker selected only those scenes involving books or literature, such as writing (“Le Feu Follet”, 1963, Louis Malle), print (“Two English Girls”, 1971, Francois Truffaut), a trip to the bookstore (“Letter from an Unknown Woman”, 1948, Max Ophuls), meeting in a library (“Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, 1961, Blacke Edwards) or the interpretation of a text (“Splendor in the Grass”, 1961, Elia Kazan).
The passion for the narrative expedient, the echoes of philosophical conversations, tributes to social issues that permeate the movement examined by Brunner, give testimony to the evolution of the relationship between cinema and literature: if in the beginning of American cinematic production, film literature was only part of the choreography, during the Nouvelle Vague and the rise of European directors
books broke out forcefully on the scene, in a game of mirrors and notations in which films slip in and re- emerge from the author’s pages that inspired them.


“With this installation I do not intend to pass judgment on these 36 films. The installation is divided by topics, but it is ‘only’ an association and a passionate confrontation of some movie scenes, most of which are faithful historical reconstructions, which try to recount the richness that comes from the fusion of cinema and literature which is exemplified, above all, through the Nouvelle Vague and a few icons of American and European cinema of the ‘50s and ‘60s. This installation is my tribute to the great directors of the time.”
Matthias Brunner


The work, presented for the first time in Italy, is part of the Kunsthaus Zürich’s collection and consists of four screens placed on bookshelves which belonged to the director Douglas Sirk – whose entire library Brunner has purchased – author of masterpieces such as “Imitation of life” and “Magnificent Obsession”, the 1954 film with Rock Hudson, which inspired the title of Brunner’s work.




October 17th TALK with the artist Matthias Brunner, film critic Vieri Razzini and Andrea Viliani, director of MADRE Museum.