In 1786 Goethe set off for Italy, the country he had been dreaming of ever since he was a child. But how should he observe the beauty of his Arcadia? How not to screw up his eyes at the intensity of the life that runs through everything there, where everything burns, both people’s gestures and the forms of the stones, the depths of the volcanoes and the strange spectacle of “Attitudes” put on by this young courtesan, Lady Emma Hamilton? What Goethe could not see, say or do, he wrote, on returning to Germany. Two centuries later, we take the plane to Naples, the train for Vesuvius, and the ferry for Stromboli. We set off on a journey.
I thank Charlotte Bayer-Broc for being such a perfect travelling companion in Naples and Stromboli, despite the seasickness and the dizzy spells, and for then donning the twin masks of Lady Hamilton and first assistant during the shoot in France.
Born in 1988, Olivier Cheval studied at the Beaux-Arts de Paris, creating video installations there in 2015 centred on video-surveillance, war imagery and terror in the imagination. A former student of the École Normale Supérieure de Lyon, with a PhD in the aesthetics of cinema, he also writes regularly about film, the visual arts and cinema, notably for the periodical Trafic. He is also the author of the book Le Partage de la douleur. Une impolitique du film, published in November 2018 by De L’Incidence Éditeur. In 2018 and 2019, he shot his first two films at Le Fresnoy – Studio national des arts contemporains, Le Songe de Lady Hamilton and Rose Minitel.
Production : Le Fresnoy, Studio national des arts contemporains