Adrian Paci
Albania / Italy
Interregnum, 2017
Video, colour, sound, 17 min 28 sec
Courtesy of the artist and kaufmann repetto, Milan
The word "interregnum", well-known in most European languages, was borrowed from Latin and means "intermission", "pause", or, to come closer to its etymology, "period between two emperors". Adrian Paci had this latter meaning in mind in his lm. This is a montage of scenes from chronicles of mass mourning processions at the funerals of the Communist leaders such as Lenin, Stalin, Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Kim Ir Sen, Joseph Broz Tito, and Enver Hoxha. Paci is interested in the masses in the first place: marching columns, assembled in a rank, people in groups stiffened before the radios, etc. The pictures of the deceased leaders themselves are absent: the reasons for the public grief remain out of the limelight. This approach enabled the artist to achieve a remarkable artistic effect. Without any explanations of the events depictured on the screen Paci left them free from any rhetoric of the original footage, which initially was inevitable as the material came from the archives of official film chronicles. Hence all the verbiage that is appropriate in commenting on mass rituals in totalitarian countries, such as the priority of political factors over private life, reducing a person to a particle of the collective body, depersonalization of the individual by means of ideology, etc., – all this is not quite applicable to the images of Paci's films. On the contrary, we see striking personalities capable of profound emotions in the lm, especially in the close-ups. The strong impressions produced by these scenes, their mesmerizing impact are largely due to the fact that they are very distant from our own experiences. Complex, intensive emotions have been lost in the epoch when people want to live a euphorically carefree life avoiding complicated issues and feelings which might over- turn their mental equilibrium. The epic scenes of grief in the lm came to us from the times when people could emotionally experience the trauma and were ready to share them with the others. This is why they were living in historical times and were the subjects of politics.
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