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Inferno

Yael Bartana
Netherlands, USA 2013 / 22’

A bird’s-eye view of São Paulo. The streets are full of beautiful people of all races wearing white tunics. The women have flowers in their hair, and the men are carrying gifts: fruit baskets, luxury objects, adorned pets. When helicopters appear in the sky carrying a menorah and the Ark of the Covenant, the crowds make for the monumental temple. There, to the sounds of the shofar, a dark-skinned priest recites the Kaddish. Religious ecstasy can be seen on the faces of the faithful. All of a sudden, there is an explosion, windows are smashed, a fire breaks out, and the scene is thick with corpses. Panicked people flee. We are witnesses to the destruction of the Third Temple. Yael Bartana, inspired by the construction of a replica of Jerusalem’s Temple of Solomon by the Brazilian Pentecostal Church, has made a film that could be called a pre-enactment, or a reconstruction of the future. Her evocative vision brings to mind both epic Romantic paintings and Technicolor scenes from Hollywood films about Ben Hur. While the action takes place in Brazil, the film still manages to deconstruct national identities, religious commonplaces, and pop-culture clichés.

Ewa Szabłowska

Yael Bartana

Yael Bartana is an Israeli multimedia artist who creates photographs, films, video installations, and sound installations. She has had a number of individual exhibitions, including at PS1 in New York, Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, and the Fridericianum in Kassel, as well as Warsaw’s Zachęta National Art Gallery. She took part in Manifesta 4 (2002), the 27th Biennale in São Paulo (2006) and documenta 12 in Kassel (2007). She represented Poland at the 54th Biennale in Venice.

Selected filmography

2003 When Adar Enters (short)

2007 Summer Camp (short)

2008 Mary koszmary / Nightmares (short)

2011 Zamach / We Will Be Strong in Our Weakness (co-dir.)

2013 Inferno 

Cast & Crew

director Yael Bartana
screenplay Yael Bartana
cinematography Itai Neeman
editing Yael Bartana
music Daniel Meir
producer Naama Pyritz
production My-i Productions
sales My-i Productions
colouration colour