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The Perfectionist, 2005

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Trilogy of Failure
(Part 3)
The Perfectionist
3-channel film installation
Colour, sound
Shot on Super-16mm
Converted to PAL SD and transferred onto DVD
Aspect ratio 16:9 (left and right) and 4:3 (center)
Loop, 25 min 18 sec
Edition 6 + 2 ap

The Perfectionist
(2005) is the third part of Rosefeldt’s Trilogy of Failure (2004/2005) in which three different settings draw a picture of our vain entanglement with everyday rituals. In each case the protagonist is caught up in a microcosm that suggests mental and spatial claustrophobia. As a reaction to the hopeless situation, he plunges into permanent Sisyphean activity – going nowhere and producing nothing. The motifs of perpetual attempt and constant failure find their equivalent in the repetitive structure of the loop. The scenes are allegories of our frantic and ultimately futile attempts to escape the surrounding norms, constraints, structures and rituals by which we are determined.

The Perfectionist, in contrast to the protagonists of the first two parts of the trilogy, appears not split in two but rather as three identical configurations of the alter ego. While two of them fail time and again in their attempts to start up a plane or simulate a parachute jump within their own four walls, the third – stricken with doubt – constantly checks and rechecks his parachute, without ever even coming near a plane. The film combines the Sisyphean motif, apparent throughout the trilogy, with allusions to the tragic story of Icarus, flying too high, falling and dying for his dream.

Summarised from Stefan Berg and Katerina Gregos, in: Julian Rosefeldt: Film Works (2008)

Exhibitions / Catalogues

Super 8, Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica, July–September 2011; YBCA Yerba Buena Center for the Arts,
   San Francisco, January–June 2012; Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, September 2012; MAM Museo de Arte Moderna,
   Rio de Janeiro, April–June 2013 (Berlin section curated by Reynold Reynolds)
Julian Rosefeldt, Galerie West, Den Haag, July–August 2012
Julian Rosefeldt – Making Of. Film Installations and Photo Works 2004–2010, DA2 – Domus Artium, Salamanca,
   October 2010–March 2011 (curated by Javier Panera)
Julian Rosefeldt. Lonely Planet, Arndt & Partner, Berlin, May–June 2006
Conflicting Tales: Subjectivity (Quadrilogy, Part 1). Burger Collection, Berlin, September–December 2009 (curated by
   Daniel Kurjakovic; catalogue)
The Prisoner's Dilemma: Selections from the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection, CIFO – Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation,
   Miami, December 2008–March 2009 (curated by Cecilia Fajardo-Hill; catalogue)
Molten States: Olaf Nicolai, René Pollesch, Julian Rosefeldt, Catherine Sullivan, Royal Academy of Arts, London, October–
   December 2008 (curated by David Thorp)
Julian Rosefeldt – The Perfectionist. KunstFilmBiennale Köln 2007, Baukunst Galerie, Cologne, October 2007 (curated by
   Heinz Peter Schwerfel; catalogue)
Julian Rosefeldt. The Perfectionist, Platform China, Beijing, September–October 2007 (curated by Sun Ning)
Scheitern, Landesgalerie Linz, June–August 2007 (curated by Gabriele Spindler; catalogue)
Julian Rosefeldt. Trilogie des Scheiterns, Part III, ZKMax, Munich, October–December 2006 (curated by Christian Gögger,
   Diana Ebster)


Berg, Stephan, et al., eds. Julian Rosefeldt: Film Works. Ostfildern, 2008.

Film Credits

Bruno Cathomas (Perfectionist)

Production Designer: Ina Timmerberg
Director of Photography: Christoph Krauss
Costume Designer: Silvia Albarella
Make-up Artist: Heiko Schmidt
1st Assistant Director / Script: Christoph Hartmann
Gaffer: Martin König
Production Managers: Sandra Knape, Wassili Zygouris
Set Manager: Julia Szemborski
1st Assistant Production Design: Anne Grumbrecht
Props / Set Dresser: Daniel Ben Sorge
Set Dresser: Gloria Fernandez
Set Construction: Blackbox
Assistant DoP: Frederik Tegethoff
Key Grip: Robert Staffl
Set Photographer: Barbara Schmidt
Catering: Markus Raska
Driver / Set Runner: Daniel Janssen
Driver: Henri Grund
Catering: Sarah Wiener GmbH

Editor: Christoph Hartmann
Postproduction: Pictorion das werk berlin GmbH
Project Manager das werk: Tom Michel
Colourist: Nadir Mansouri
Compositing: Christian Tröger, Philipp Fehling, Jürgen Blümlein
Technical Support: Alex Falk
Postproduction Sound: Arri Film & TV GmbH
Foley Artist: Felix Kratzer
Sound Supervisor, Re-recording: Tschangis Chahrokh-Zadeh
Sound Editor: Berni Maurer

Camera & Light Supplier: Cinegate GmbH
Grip Supplier: Gripscorner GmbH
SFX: Björn Friese
Processing & Telecine: Schwarzfilm Postproduktion GmbH
Insurance: A. Huber & Co.
Transport: Medias Reiseservice GmbH
Film Stock: Fuji Kine Film Vertriebsges. mbH

Supported by:
Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary

Shot in Berlin, 2005

Written, directed and produced by Julian Rosefeldt

All rights reserved © Julian Rosefeldt

Film & Video Works / The Perfectionist, 2005