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Julian Rosefeldt: Euphoria

This immersive Cate Blanchett-starring film installation is filling Melbourne's Town Hall for RISING 2023.
By Sarah Ward
May 24, 2023
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By Sarah Ward
May 24, 2023
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At the start of 2023, Cate Blanchett scored her seventh Oscar nomination for conductor drama Tár. Next, she'll be towering over Melbourne. The Aussie acting giant will grace a historic space built in 1867, across a film installation spanning an array of huge screens, and in one mighty impressive 360-degree display.

As part of RISING, Melbourne's major annual arts festival, Blanchett features in her latest starring role for artist and filmmaker Julian Rosefeldt. The duo reteams for Euphoria after working on 2015's stunning installation Manifesto together. Taking over Melbourne Town Hall from Friday, June 2–Sunday, June 18, their new multichannel work doesn't just focus on the acclaimed Australian actor playing multiple parts, however, instead honing in on the weighty topic that is capitalism.

The Berlin-based Rosefeldt tackles his current topic — aka two thousand years of greed and the effect that unlimited economic growth has — via a spiral of screens that'll sit throughout the venue. On the ground floor, 24 screens will showcase a life-sized choir of Brooklyn Youth Chorus singers, while five jazz drummers will duel on the screens above them. There'll also be five theatrical vignettes looping above, too, which is where Blanchett playing an anthropomorphic tiger stalking supermarket aisles comes in.

Those drummers? They include Grammy Award-winning drummer and composer Antonio Sánchez, who also composed the score for 2014 film Birdman. And those vignettes? They'll also feature Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul favourite — and recent Kaleidoscope star — Giancarlo Esposito among a cast that'll speaking thoughts penned by economists, writers and thinkers like Warren Buffett, Ayn Rand, Angela Davis and Snoop Dogg.

As well as Blanchett as a jungle cat, RISING's first major international commission — which hits this year's fest as an Australian exclusive, and enjoyed its world premiere at the Park Armory in New York back in November 2022 — features homeless men chatting about economics, executives getting acrobatic in a bank lobby, and an all-round unpacking of capitalism via its own excess. Paired with it, Euphoria's original score by Canadian composer Samy Moussa and British saxophonist Cassie Kinoshi goes big on jazz, the tunes sung by the children's choir and those uttered ideas.

Befitting the theme, the installation will run with a pay-as-you-can pricing model, and welcome in visitors for free on Fridays during its season.

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