Monday, November 22, 2010

Frederick Wiseman

Frederick Wiseman's Seraphita's Diary (1982) is a conceptual one-woman performance piece featuring actress-model Apollonia van Ravenstein playing dozens of characters: old and young, men and women, in minstrel blackface and haute couture. (Such wildly disparate personas bring to mind Cindy Sherman's range of self-portraits.) In Seraphita's Diary, Wiseman imagines a model named Seraphita who has disappeared, leaving her diary behind. The film presents a succession of conversations. One scene, for example, shows van Ravenstein as photographer, makeup artist, model, and other supporting figures at a pretend fashion shoot. Perhaps Wiseman's fictional "Seraphita" is a reference to the androgynous title character in Honoré de Balzac's 1835 book.
Creative Commons License
Documentary Starts Here by Nancy Kalow is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.