In August, Lars von Trier challenged people throughout the world: Submit five minutes of material in audio or video inspired by six great works of art. This resulted in 501 different contributions from 60 countries, which film director Jenle Hallund now has put together into a single Gesamtkunstwerk in just four weeks. Of the 501 contributions, 142 were selected for the final project entitled "Disaster 501 - What Happened to Man?"
As the title suggests, "Disaster 501" is a disaster film. The title stems from a question that Jenle Hallund kept asking herself during the editing process: "What are we doing to ourselves and each other?"
"What struck me when I saw the various contributions was how lonely we humans are and the way we are cut off from each other. The film is a study of our personal relationships with each other, and how these factors trigger conflicts that ultimately set off collective actions such as war. This is expressed in the works: In the relationship between man and woman in, for example, Joyce's novel 'Ulysses', and between father and daughter in Strindberg's play 'The Father'," says Jenle Hallund.
The other works that the participants have been inspired by are a painting by Gaugin, a monument of Albert Speer, a musical improvisations by César Frank and a tap dance by Sammy Davis Jr.
There is always hope
In Jenle Hallund's opinion the film is not, however, an expression of mankind's total decay.
"Even though the work is painful and alienated, it also contains hope. There is always hope. I think there is something beautiful in the fact that people stand up against the pain and cowardice that we have inside us. There were also many beautiful, sublime and romantic bits, which expressed a continued desire for the ideal and the ultimate beauty," she says.
"Disaster 501" opens on 12 October at Kunsthal Charlottenborg, where the film can be seen throughout the year.