Wagner Redact –
De Walkure (TheValkyrie)

De Walkure is part two of a startling, irreverent and visually inventive adaptation of Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. This arduous labor has been accomplished by two Belgian artists, Frank and Koen Theys, whose earlier work, The Rhinegold, angered some and intrigued others among the keepers of the Ring. De Walkure is no video transposition of the classic opera, but a fully realized reinvention that casts the action within a pliable electronic space. Wagner's narrative has been left somewhat intact; we see the raging Wotan, the vengeful Hunding, the starcrossed lovers Sieglinde and Siegmund, an obdurate Fricka and the torn Brunnhilde. The opera, however, has been compressed into a 85-minute drama that leaps wantonly through the supple space of the video medium. Wagner's leitmotif gains a new visual force as electronically manipulated images are recombined to accent and enrich the musical strains. Perhaps of equal importance, the Theys' interest is not in Wagner, per se, but in their interpretation of Wagner. Personalizing the themes of obedience and power, love and loss, they see Wotan representing a fading culture and in his progressive rages he is accompanied by a backdrop of roaring planes and cannon fire. Sieglinde and Siegmund seek liberation from this patriarchal force and, at one point, in a beautiful visualization, merge bodies, forming a hybrid being with a women's head and a man's voice. The Valkyries are depicted as bald enshrouded women, but in their fearsome ride, they are a swirling troop of inflatable sex dolls, grotesquely expressing their dual nature. In De Walkure, the Theys have employed video's specific properties, fashioning a clever and audacious work that rings true.

Steve Seid - PACIFIC FILMARCHIVE - Program
sep 1989