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In the Body of Sturgeon

Mary Reid Kelley, 7 min

United States, 2018

In the Body of Sturgeon

Aboard the submarine USS Sturgeon, the crew entertains each other with burlesque, in a cinematic adaptation of a long-form poem.

'In the Body of the Sturgeon' is based on Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's epic poem 'The Song of Hiawatha' from 1855, an often ridiculed, idyllic fantasy about the lives of indigenous Americans. The text, however, is edited (each cut in the text is marked by a jump cut in the film), and transferred to the fictitious submarine USS Sturgeon at the end of World War II. In the Kelley couple's characteristic and expressive graphic expression, Longfellow's original text has been turned into seven dense and almost trance-inducing minutes, where the narrative poem is read at a staccato pace. With the submarine as the ultimate claustrophobic and militarised environment, the crew entertains us and each other with burlesque appearances and performances, interrupted by President Truman's announcement of the bombing of Hiroshima. An interventionist adaptation of a canonised text in a cinematic form, whose black and white contrast and strong makeup reflects both the slapstick comedies and the avantgarde works of the silent era.

Director: Mary Reid Kelley
Original Title: In the Body of the Sturgeon
Country: United States
Year: 2018
Running time: 7 min
Category: Art
Tags: Animals
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