Maestà, the Passion of Christ

Andy Guérif
France, 2015, 60 min


Andy Guérif had already given us an unexpected reading of Duccio’s painting in Cène (FID 2004), the famous painted panel literally taking form in front of our eyes. Here we are again with the great work of the Sienese artist painted at the turn of the 14th century, a huge polyptych with Mary in majesty, La Maesta. What to do with such a monument today? That is the project here: tracing possibilities, from painting to cinema, from Gothic narrative to contemporary imagery. The filmmaker concentrates on the 26 back panels of this abundant monumental altarpiece narrating the Passion of Christ. And we are caught in the picture, its movement, following, from one vignette to the next, the unusual and complex inner journey of the painting. Sequences follow of the Passion reinterpreted in succession. Meticulously restored, the decors, initially empty of characters, one by one come alive from the hubbub of those who settle there, and then, a miracle: a fixed image. And, again, everybody quits the scene to go on to the next vignette. Thus the painting is explored in stages; each image becomes the climax of the fixed scene, the past stasis of which we have before us as we sense the images to come. There is a double movement of memory and projection where the split-screen editing converses with the narrative device of the trecento in which, from one image to another, the figures of time and event collide. From another time and contemporary. (FIDMarseille)