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A series of snapshots from the life of a fictional actress named Shirley serves to weave together thirteen paintings by Edward Hopper (e.g. ”Office at Night”, ”Western Motel”, ”Usherette”, ”A Woman in the Sun”) into a fascinating synthesis of painting and film, personal and political history. Each station in Shirley’s professional and private life from the 1930s to 1960s is precisely dated: It is always August 28/29 of the year in question, as the locations vary from Paris to New York to Cape Cod. Shirley is a liberated woman who questions conventional relationship roles and reflects on the role of theatre and politics. Her thoughts are conveyed through internal monologues delivered in voiceover. Furthermore, every episode begins with fragments from radio news reports, which place Shirley’s personal story in relation to key events from American history over the decades (the Great Depression, the Second World War, McCarthyism, the Kennedy era, and the Civil Rights movement). A supremely elegant ”animation” of a most unusual kind, which, in moving from single images to film, takes advantage of the seemingly inherent cinematic and narrative qualities of Hopper’s paintings. (Anna Hoffmann)

Production: KGP Kranzelbinder Gabriele Production, Vienna
Screenplay: Gustav Deutsch
Camera: Jerzy Palacz
Cast: Stephanie Cumming, Christoph Bach, Florentin Groll, Elfriede Irrall
Format: DCP, colour
Running time: 92 min
Language: English

Photo: © KGp Photo by Jerzy Palacz

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
  • Logo des Programms NeuStart Kultur