The film Bedevilled is inspired by the silent
film ‘Alraune’ by Henrik Galeen (1927) and was made in collaboration with the artist-run exhibition space 'Voorkamer' in Lier, Belgium. The film was recorded on site, based on improvisations with the two performers, and exhibited in the same space that was used for the filmset.
The original film concentrates on the issues of artificial insemination
and individuality: genetics versus environment. A scientist, Professor
Jakob ten Brinken, interested in the laws of heredity, impregnates a prostitute
in a laboratory with the semen of a hanged murderer. The prostitute conceives
a female child who has no concept of love, whom the professor adopts.
The girl, Alraune, suffers from obsessive sexuality and perverse relationships
throughout her life. She learns of her unnatural origins and she avenges
herself against the professor.
In this adaptation most of the story is discarded, the film focusses on
the relation between the man (the Professor) and the woman (Alraune),
their movements in space and the sexual tension between the two characters.
Bedevilled is a tribute to the magnificence and modernity of silent film
but also an appropriation of the genre. Alraune is performed by Clara Saito, a dancer and choreographer, the Professor is played by Herman Boets, an actor and theater maker.
The adaptation echoes the myth of Pygmalion and Galatea, bringing back to life what is now considered as an archaic form of cinema and an even more archaic way of acting.