At cocktail parties and similar intimate occasions Marlene Dietrich would entertain her guests with a story of the funeral she envisioned for herself. Over the years, her funeral, became a more polished and baroque tale with each retelling. In early 1990s, when Marlene Dietrich did succumb to her own mortality, this grand ceremony was not realised for many reasons (among which was her having outlived most of its star players). T.J. Wilcox’s new film, The Funeral of Marlene Dietrich, gives Dietrich the grand farewell she imagined; an appropriately cinematic final act for a film legend who well understood her own immortality.
Three of T.J. Wilcox’s films were exhibited in London at the ICA last year. His subject matter includes Stephen Tennant, the dowager Empress of China and Marie Antoinette, all romantic figures, and the collaged films present Wilcox’s romantic interpretations of their ironic stories. Part documentary, part narrative, part animation, part appropriation.