The year at the Darkroom ends with Mastering Bambi (2010), a film by the Dutch artist duo Persijn Broersen & Margit Lukács. The work is based on Walt Disney’s classic animation Bambi that
premiered in 1942. Broersen & Lukács have re-created scenes from
the animation leaving out imagery of the famous deer and his animal
friends. What remains as the sole protagonist of the work is the
autonomous, untouched wilderness.
Wild nature with its voracious waterfalls, towering trees and gloomy horizons is awe-inspiring, and the absence of any living creatures makes the eye focus on both the frightening scale of the forces of nature and the tiny details of the landscape. The scenes bear a resemblance to romantic landscape paintings with their emphasis on the sublime, and the magic well of the forest can in fact be seen as a romantic utopia of a harmonious and unsullied state of nature. Disney’s vision was very much based on European romanticism wherein civilisation and technology are seen as a threat to nature, and where human action can disturb the status quo of the wilderness.
Bambi is originally based on the novel Bambi, a Life in the Woods (1923) by Austrian writer Felix Salten, which was banned by Adolf Hitler. Salten’s vision of nature – and human society – was much darker than Disney’s and it presented nature as an arena of Darwinian struggle, full of violence and death. Broersen & Lukács’s version retains the spirit of Disney’s film, but in their treatment nature becomes a different reality, a construction mirroring our own imagination. The suggestive, cinematic score of Mastering Bambi by Berend Dubbe and Gwendolyn Thomas is a reconstruction of the soundtrack of the original Bambi.
Meet the artists Persijn Broersen and Margit Lukács talk about their film and artistic practice at an artist talk on Thursday 26 November at 2 pm in Kuvateatteri (Linnankatu 54). The talk is in English and open to all who are interested. Free admission.