Story of My Death
Albert Serra’s mischievous allegory for the death knell of the Enlightenment and the dawning of Romanticism is a truly singular work. Serra expresses this cultural shift through an imagined encounter between Casanova (Vincenc Altaio) and Dracula (Eliseu Huertas). It's an intriguing concept tempered by the director's fondness for laborious long takes and burlesque humour. Art's ability to reflect society’s shifting values is the film’s central theme, be it candlelit discussions over the influence of religion on literature or an extended sequence dedicated to our tragic Lothario’s bowel movements. An alchemist transforming faeces into gold is just one of the film’s potent metaphors for the creative process.
The film's erotic charge of intellectualism is an acquired taste, an alienating mix of philosophising and debauchery. However, Serra’s approach isn't without its charm. While other artists seek to find order in chaos, Serra revels in the anarchy, and has crafted a fittingly facetious monument to the cyclical nature of art. [Patrick Gamble]