The Baroness in the Adirondacks

Last year, we were asked to participate in an ambitious project conceived and directed by the amazing minds of Cassandra Guan and Lily Benson. I’ll let their description explain the project:

The Filmballad of MAMADADA is an experimental, feminist biodrama about the marginalized Dadaist, Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven. Its content has been produced collaboratively by an international group of filmmakers and artists. Participants undertook to interpret and adapt fragments from Freytag-Loringhoven’s biography, working in piecemeal fashion toward a collective narrative. The resulting compilation (a total of 49 passages) is being edited into a feature-length film, its representation of history fractured through a shifting series of authorial lenses. This unconventional process of production can be imagined as a game of exquisite corpse unfolding in time, giving shape to an intricate web of desires and fears surrounding identity politics today.

We were charged with a portion of the year 1923: Elsa has returned to Berlin penniless, cold, with only an unfurnished apartment. Inspired, we decided to portray Elsa’s outer landscape as a reflection of her inner landscape. This January of 2013, we shot our scene lakeside in the January subzero Adirondacks, near the town of Old Forge. MaryAnn Nelson, an extremely talented local actress, was our Baroness.


MaryAnn Nelson

A lake dock is transformed from a dormant memory of summer to a confined room.


Prudence demonstrating the proper use of safety goggles

Does the window allow her to look out or look in?


MaryAnn Nelson and William

Cassandra Guan recently cut a trailer for “The Filmballad of MAMADADA.” Excerpts from our sequence are seen in the cut before and after the title card, and in the very last cut.

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