A long, stable and illustrious career as a movie star clearly isn’t quite enough for Cate Blanchett. The serious and impeccable actress has had many faces throughout her career so far, playing the iconic Bob Dylan in I’m Not There (2007), the meticulous and vicious CIA operative in Hanna (2011) and a pure hearted Noldorin princess in the Lord of the Rings franchises. She happily forgave her blockbuster sized pay checks to play roles on stage such as Blanche DuBois in Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire and Richard II in War of the Roses at Sydney Theatre Company. She has joined all of the original Australian cast in a revival of Sydney Theatre Co’s The Present on Broadway at the moment. Since stepping down as co-artistic director of the STC, she has had to look elsewhere to fill the creative void screen acting doesn’t quite reach. First appearing in Massive Attack’s music video for The Spoils as an emotional stone bust statue, then featuring as a sexually charged, predatory woman in a video art project Red by the Archibald Prize winning artist Del Kathryn Barton, a surrealist take on female power inspired by the mating rituals of the Australian red back spider, which is currently playing at the Art Gallery of South Australia. It would appear she is in three places at once, as her most recent artistic endeavour Manifesto is currently showing at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
Manifesto is a multi-screen video installation by artist and filmmaker Julian Rosefeldt. It features Cate in 13 different roles performing various manifestos, taken from various time periods and placed in contemporary scenarios. Blanchett’s morphing talents are on display, performing these manifestos as monologues whilst inhabiting 13 vastly different personas- among them a school teacher, factory worker, punk, newsreader, scientist, puppeteer, widow, and a homeless man. The installation is currently on display at the Art Gallery of New South Wales with thirteen screens, one screen per character, played on a loop. It is admirable that Blanchett has used her star power as a calling card for her home country in many different ways.
Rosefeldt has merged all 13 manifestos into one 2 hour 10 minute feature film version which will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2017. You can watch the trailer for Manifesto below, and if you’re lucky enough to be in Sydney you can catch the installation at the Art Gallery of NSW until February 19th.
Cate Blanchett as a scientist in Manifesto