<p>2020<br />
Promises and Premises</p>
<p>2020<br />
Promises and Premises</p>
<p>2020<br />
Promises and Premises</p>
<p>2020<br />
Promises and Premises</p>
<p>2020<br />
Promises and Premises</p>

Video made together with Lars Preisser.

Trailer

Featuring speeches from the Motivational Speech Archive within a soundscape

Synopsis
'A drone is flying above the wintery Finnish landscape, circuiting around several different forlorn school buildings. We hear motivational speeches, which are embedded in a mesh of emotional music. The musical pieces merge into each other, much like the speeches that resemble each other in their diction, delivery and vocabulary.

The speeches are taken from movies, most often movies about schools. Schools and films, both are places where supposedly stories of, and about, success take place. School is on the one hand a place of possibilities and on the other hand also the site of their limitation. Movies are meant to enable us to forget the limits and constraints of life and perhaps to inspire positive change, a task that amounts most often to be not much more than an escape from reality. The drone is showing us the exterior of the schools, the imploring speeches by teachers animate us to think about what might be going on inside the buildings. An area of ambivalence opens up between the visual triteness of the real world and the Hollywood promises, which may hold a kernel of truth, that, at any rate, doesn't seem likely to be situated inside these schools.

One topic the film is addressing subtly is who speaks to whom in these speeches.

For the archive of motivational speeches that Beatrice has begun to build in 2016 she excerpted over 200 monologues from mostly 80s - 2010s Hollywood films and edited and condensed them. If they were to be categorized, the majority of these monologues is spoken by white males. They are usually either spoken to other white males, an unspecified audience (the viewer) or in rare cases an ethnically diverse group of mixed-gender teenagers. Secondly come the white female characters who either address white males, or sometimes an ethnically diverse group of mixed-gender teenagers. Thirdly come black female and male characters, who sometimes speak toward black men, but often are designated the role of the "super-duper magical Negro" (called such in 2001 by Spike Lee) who props up the white protagonist morally along his journey. A very rare case is the female character who directly addresses one female character like in Dangerous Minds as well as in Working Girl. One big exception of the trope is Jack Black's character in School of Rock, who addresses an individual black female student of his, played by Maryam Hassan.'

Beatrice Moumdjian and Lars Preisser, 2020