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The Meeting, the Interpreter

The Meeting, the Interpreter is an experimental short made by Catherine Gropper, an erudite filmmaker who crafted an unforgettable film. Gropper's signature is the visual layout that consists of still images, inserts from news reports, naturalistic videos and segments of popular culture.

It's encouraged that the viewer/recipient have foreknowledge on the subject that the film deals with to have better access to its core idea. However, that doesn't mean that the audience without pre-existing notions wouldn't enjoy the film. Quite on the contrary, The Meeting, the Interpreter is educational and raises awareness with its profound approach to complex fundamental themes.

Gropper is interested in providing social and political commentary through cinematic syntax and the auteur theory, first crafted by Andre Bazin, who argued that a film's essence lies in its ability to reproduce reality mechanically. Looking back at the Trump administration and the current pandemic, The Meeting, the Interpreter is a film to be experienced differently depending on the time and place it’s presented to the audience.

Is the film a mirror or window? Is Gropper's latest video a simulacrum or reflection, a cause or effect? These are some of the questions that provoke the viewer to participate in the video, thus stating the complexity actively. Another way to look at the film is to remind oneself of Pirandello's classic ‘One, No One and One Hundred Thousand’.

The protagonist, Moscarda, realizes that he was obsessed by the thought that for others, he was not what he privately imagined himself to be. Gropper's relationship with Don Junior as the centre of their academic thesis might be indeed that – the tragedy of a man who struggles to reclaim a coherent identity.

The order of videos combined with images is not done accidentally. The dramaturgy, i.e. composition, makes this film unique. Among the establishing pictures is a close shot of a pamphlet that asks 'Who really controls the world'. It happens in a glimpse, yet it might as well be decisive in unlocking the subtext. The shot of the three monkeys, in the end, serves as a juxtaposition, and it's during the second review that these subtle traits and nuances are exposed. The same could be said for the animals in the beginning compared to the end. In the earlier sequences, animals are portrayed in their natural habitat, only to reveal the first son’s passion for hunting.

To conclude, with the usage of film language and the fascinating sense for visual narration, Catherine Gropper reaches a new, unprecedented artistic form.


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