In his film Shirley: Visions of Reality, Austrian filmmaker, architect and experimental artist Gustav Deutsch recreates 13 of Edward Hopper’s paintings, bringing them to life by telling the story of a woman whose thoughts, emotions and contemplations give us a glimpse of a fascinating era in American history.
Charting three decades from the 1930s, the character – played by a red-haired actress – is someone who would like to influence the course of history with her professional and socio-political involvement.
A woman who does not accept the reality of the Depression years, WWII, the McCarthy era, race conflicts and civil rights campaigns as given but rather as generated and adjustable. A woman who cannot identify with the traditional role model of a wife yet longs to have a life partner.
Gustav explains: "Here we have three decades, which have seen great upheavals at all levels – political, social and cultural – that have changed the country and its people forever... Shirley experiences and reflects all this as a committed and emancipated actress with left-leaning politics. She enjoys jazz, listening to the radio and going out and loves film. She is a woman with strong opinions and both feet on the ground, even during times of personal or professional crisis."
It's a strikingly unique cinematic recreation of classic Hopper paintings – think Night Windows (1938), Office at Night (1940), Room in New York (1932), New York Movie (1939) and Intermission (1963) – all with their influences of film noir and choice of lighting, subject and framing. If you've not yet discovered Gustav's work, this particular project is a must-see.