Shirley: Visions of Reality is a stylised ode to Edward Hopper in which his most famous painting comes to life. Enchantingly beautiful, magical, stunning, impressive and hypnotic…. words fail to adequately describe the visual beauty of this film by Gustav Deutsch. Add to this the film’s rich content and the result is an refreshing new interplay between film and visual art. A minor adjustment – a window shade shoots up, someone changes their posture – and suddenly we see precisely the tableau once painted by Edward Hopper.
The film captivates from start to finish. Thirteen paintings, produced between 1931 and 1965, form the starting point for a fictional story about the career and love life of Shirley, a politically-aware actress. She shares her reflections on her life and entrusts her ideas about the world to us. Personal moments are interspersed with fragments of radio broadcasts that mention major events in history: the Great Depression, WWII, the McCarthy era, racial conflict and the civil rights movement.
Hopper himself drew inspiration from film noir: in canvasses such as “New York Movie” and “Intermission” he referred directly to cinema. In turn, he influenced directors such as Alfred Hitchcock, Jim Jarmusch, Martin Scorsese and Wim Wenders. Shirley: Visions of Reality proves beyond doubt that film and visual art can be partners in a dialogue.
Let yourself being immersed in a very special cinematic experience. On Friday 19 September the film will be introduced by Arjan Moscoviter (visual arts dept. of ’t Venster), an expert on Edward Hopper’s work. (RvB)