Cinematographer: Giorgio Bosisio
Gaffer/focus puller: Julia Sangnakkara
Assistant: Claire Chassot
Actors: Mathieu Ziegler, Stefan Kollmuss
Sound mix and recording: Charles Menger
Sound design: Emmet O'Donnell
Colour grading: Alex Grigoras
Locations: Cinema Arditi, Geneva; Embassy of Foreign Artists, Geneva
Produced by: Piano Nobile, Geneva
Loosely constructed from a collage of literary references, filmic vocabulary, broken-up narratives and improvisations, ‘The Protagonist’ is a work where the construction of a main character for a film is treated as an event for camera, a happening that becomes the film itself.
Shot in two different interiors (an empty cinema and a house-party turning into a karaoke night) and constructed through six interconnected scenes, the film uses the tropes normally associated with the basic shaping of a narrative persona - looks, behaviours, personal details, surroundings etc. - and turns them all into the only available storyline to be followed.
In an empty cinema, two unnamed men discuss the treatment for a possible narrative. Their abstract discussions are continuously interrupted by a second, parallel sequence: the movements and behaviours of a series of men and women abstractly portrayed while drinking, dancing, singing and carelessly chatting during a karaoke party.
The juxtaposition of the two scenes is an open proposal: mere rhythmic punctuation for the previous sequence, it might as well become a cypher for the two men’s unfinished storytelling.
The film never starts, its constant deferral unveiling its basic mechanics, rendering them the only possible matter of interest: a story about the making of a character, about the becoming of a protagonist.