Being Renée Sintenis is a film about the Berlin sculptor Renée Sintenis (1888-1965)
"Being Renée Sintenis" is a film project about the Berlin sculptor Renée Sintenis (1888-1965). As the androgynous role model of the "New Woman", she was at the centre of the Berlin art scene and was considered the most photographed artist of the 1920s.
As an artist, she dealt with animals and their representation throughout her life. Her small-format animal bronzes idealised naturalness as a field free of social attributions and thus hit the spirit of her time. Privately, she was considered introverted and deliberately avoided interpretation of her work.
In the film Sintenis empowers herself with her narrative and deconstructs the cliché-like contradictory image of the introverted role model that has been portrayed in several biographies.
The film consists of 8 chapters with the headings: Childhood, Model, Zeitgeist, Making Animals, Myth, Fame, Amor/ Psyche, Listen to the Objects. The content focuses on the different aspects of Renée Sintenis' personality and interweaves the biographical with the fictional. The deliberate deviation from Sintenis' biography questions its construction and opens up a subjective space parallel to the traditional narrative.
The vignette-like scenes are reminiscent of dreams in which the plot meanders with the dreamer being transformed within ever changing new settings. The result is a rebus-like portrait of the artist, who was surrounded by an aura of mystery during her lifetime. Props, costumes and locations form a network of art historical references from the 20th century.
In the scenes, themes such as scale and model, statics and movement refer to Sintenis's artistic practice and to her sculptural subjects; above all, the animal / Being an animal forms the centre of the film. A revolving stage serves simultaneously as a pedestal and presentation surface both for her objects or props in the film and for Renee Sintenis' own body. Both are illuminated in several scenes by spotlights and filmed in sections by the camera. The bodies are thus fragmented and alienated. They create space for the open and transitory, which is reinforced by the rotating movement that undermines a linear chronology of beginning and end and thus suggests an endless loop.
The film was shot both in the studio and in several specific locations, such as the garden of the Georg Kolbe Museum, the Berlin Tiergarten, the Sculpture Depot and Concourse of Neue Nationalgalerie. Music composition and spoken texts condense each individual scene into autonomous short narratives.
Renée Sintenis: Lisa-Katrina Mayer
Sound/Composition: Katrin Vellrath
Camera: Volker Gläser, Alexandra Hopf
Sound engineer: Thomas Meier