Lacerate blends elements of realism with a dreamlike, symbolic dimension, portraying the extreme decision of a woman who turns from victim into executioner. Inspired by the iconography of mythological and biblical paintings such as Artemisia Gentileschi’s Judith Slaying Holofernes, Rafa nonetheless chooses to show the moment after the act of revenge—or self-defense—when the dramatic climax is already over.
In a series of mises-en-scène shot only in natural light, we see a domestic setting overrun by a pack of dogs that roam around restlessly, attacking objects and furniture. The interior of this home is a mental space, violated and lacerated like a body that has undergone violence. Fruit, game, and remnants of food are arranged like still lifes, with allegorical elements evoking the precariousness of life and the loss of innocence. It is a suspended, hostile ecosystem, where the brutality suffered by other species is transferred by osmosis to human beings.
In the vision imagined by the artist, the hunting hounds and other dogs—which were perhaps owned by the couple and witnessed the abusive relationship over the years—have come back like ghosts from the past. Historically symbols of loyalty to their master, the dogs here rebel and become the woman’s guardians, supporting and protecting her in the process of liberation from her persecutor. It is thus the irrational, animalistic part of the unconscious that has been unleashed, allowing the woman to regain control over her life and save herself.
Text courtesy of Leonardo Bigazzi.
Lascerate was commissioned and produced by In Between Art Film for the project Mascarilla 19 – Codes of Domestic Violence.
16'20" / 3.2 K video / colour / sound
Dir: Janis Rafa
Prod: Fondazione In Between Art Film
Country: Italy, The Netherlands
Language: no dialogue
Screening format: DCP, HD file
Courtesy the artist and Fondazione In Between Art Film
a.o. KALA AZAR (2020, feature) Festivals and Awards: a.o. KNF Award -IFF Rotterdam, New Directors/New Films MoMA, Best Cinematography-Black Canvas CFF, Special Mention, Hong Kong IFF, Thessaloniki IFF, REQUIEM TO A FATAL INCIDENT (2015, experimental short), GRAVEDIGGERS (2014, midlength).
Fondazione In Between Art Film
Ph: +39 33 3428 5531
Distribution: EYE Experimental and Fondazione In Between Art Film
Ph: +31 20 589 1446
Ph: +39 33 3428 5531