Is he a fugitive or a traveller, the man catching his train at the very last minute and settling himself into his seat? A pair of running feet, a hand grasping a small valise, a partial view of a yellow-clad torso, a harried stare into nothingness – these are but fragments of the character revealed by Stephanie Winter in the initial frames of The Doppelganger. Her protagonist will remain a torn man. His journey has no destination, only a direction. This is hinted at in the opening credits by a billboard with increasingly illegible letters which end in pure black. It is a journey into darkness, into the jagged nocturnal landscapes of memory and fantasy which will be laid open to the traveller layer by layer as he attempts to escape life. At the outset of the train ride, he opens a tin which lets him uncover the dreamlike universe of the archivist and guardian of the past. At this point, he still appears to have everything firmly in hand. Even so, once he dips into the realm of remembrance, it overpowers him and reduces him to a manipulable pawn. Relentlessly driven, penetrating deeper and deeper, crawling on all fours, he must face the horror of his own countenance inside the wretched cave of his innermost self. Inspired by Heinrich Heine‘s poem of the same name, Stephanie Winter has staged a cryptic journey into the hidden premonitions of her protagonist‘s soul. In a scant 14 minutes, she translates narrative moments and visions, fantasies and buried signs of conscience into a multilayered visual language full of vivid poetry and expressiveness.
by Karin Schiefer