Nina Menkes’ trailer for this year’s Viennale is a return to the very basis of cinema, an object of fascination with the world’s beauty. If her most recent feature BRAINWASHED: SEX-CAMERA-POWER (which is part of this year’s program, examines, analyzes and theorizes on the presence of sexism at the core of the cinematic language), this is a practical endeavor of the forming of one gaze of her own, one that is subtle and as close as possible to the environment it observes.
Menkes captures a circus, a space ever present in cinema’s history, a history that this short film is genuinely conscious of. She approaches the trade slowly, concentrating on gestures as if trying to grasp the knowledge that informs them. Every movement carries the trace of the years of preparation for every night’s show. There are the small objects of what comes before the show: costumes, masks and formations. What happens right before the action begins is also action. During the show, once the humans are all expectant and inside, animals take over the outside, they loiter freely in the real world, while people are busy with their particular kind of magic. (Lucía Salas, Viennale Catalogue 2022)
The Lioness (Viennale-Trailer 2022)