Fantômas – Revenge of the Image

Directed by Travis Preston
Developed in collaboration with Tom Gunning

Fantômas – Revenge of the Image is a created theater piece focusing on the emergence of urban terror as an enduring facet of modernity. Inspired by the legendary figure of Souvestre and Allain’s pulp fiction series as well as the films of Louis Feuillade, Fantômas – Revenge of the Image excavates the raw energy and irresistible power of this icon of infamous and unbounded criminality. Core interest in these source materials lies in the relationship between confounded rationality and violence – also a source of fascination for the Surrealists, for whom Fantômas was a flashpoint of inspiration.

The motivation for Fantômas’ crimes resides in their effects, and even more in their affects: his purpose remains to spread terror. While power over others may motivate him, the savagery of his acts seems to justify itself through a macabre sense of aesthetics. Fantômas does not simply commit crimes, he directs an elaborate mise en scene of violence. Fantômas – Revenge of the Image engages discourses on terror and terrorism as a facet of the contemporary landscape. It investigates the intersection between terror and entertainment – uneasily united in the arena of sensation and promulgated in all contemporary media.

This project continues the work between film theorist Tom Gunning and director Travis Preston, who have collaborated on several projects together, including An Unseen Energy Swallows Space – their first stage exploration of the landscape of early cinema. Added to this collaborative team are celebrated actress Mirjana Jokovic, known most prominently for her work in the films of Emir Kusturica (Underground, Palme d’Or, 1995), and the choreographer Mira Kingsley.