The Story of My Death
PRODS Thierry Lounas, Montse Triola, Albert Serra
SCR/ED Albert Serra
CAM Artur Tort, Jimmy Gimferrer, Angel Martin
ART DIRS Mihnea Mihailescu, Sebastan Vogler
MUS Joe Robinson, Enric Juncà, Ferran Font, Marc Verdaguer
PROD CO Andergraun Films / Capricci Films / Televisió de Catalunya (TV3)
Returning to features for the first time since Birdsong (VIFF 08), the pride of Catalonia, Albert Serra, presents his most mature work to date, an imagining of life at the turn of the 18th century, when rationalism gives way to Romanticism, as told through the journey of the notorious libertine Casanova (art curator Vicenç Altaió) and his valet (Lluis Serrat, also known as Sancho, and never better). Simply put, they live life (The Story of My Life being Casanova’s memoirs), encountering artists and women—beginning at a Swiss chateau and eventually traveling to the Carpathians, where they end up in the presence of another famous figure of the period, Dracula (Eliseu Huertas, the most originally depicted Vlad the Impaler in film history).
Working for the first time with scripted dialogue, and combining it with his usual method of free improvisation with nonprofessional actors, Serra has concocted a truly esoteric and unique work, something contemporary, yet totally free of the constraints of time and space. The trappings might be historical and mythical, but his playground is cinematic language; the editing, acting and photography, all of which are sui generis, contribute to a grand work of art that, as in an alchemic concoction, begins by appearing like waste, but eventually dazzles like solid gold. Bringing to mind filmmakers such as Pasolini, Garrel and Straub, The Story of My Death is a constantly surprising film of great beauty, mixing the sacred and the profane, where not a single shot or cut is out of place.