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A Brief Story of Princess X

by Gabriel Abrantes
Portugal, France, UK 2016, 7′
Presented at Schermo dell’arte Film Festival 2016
SCREENPLAY: Gabriel Abrantes
PHOTOGRAPHY: Jorge Quintela
EDITING: Margarida Lucas
PRODUCER: Gabriel Abrantes, Justin Tauran, Benjamin Cook
PRODUCTION: Hermaphrodite Films
Eccentric and haughty, Princess Marie Bonaparte (1882-1962), Napoleon’s great-granddaughter, was a writer, psychoanalyst and pioneer of sexual freedom. In 1905, Sigmund Freud, of whom Marie was a pupil and whose work she translated into French, claimed that female orgasm was derived from penetration. Marie wasn’t at all persuaded by such statements; disappointed by her own personal experience, she theorized that it depended on the distance between clitoris and vagina. Firmly convinced of her theory, the princess underwent surgical operations in order to achieve satisfaction. The story is told and kept in the history of the execution of the work Princess X (1916) by Constantin Brancusi. The well-known sculptor, after having devoted five years to the portrait of his client Marie, destroyed the work Woman Looking in a Mirror (1909), transforming it into an egg-shaped head, slightly tilted, the long neck ending in a full bust, with an ambiguous meaning: a sinuous phallic shape in reflecting bronze. But was this change due to the sculptor’s subtle irony? or a misunderstanding between him and the Princess? Gabriel Abrantes’ provocative and stinging film take on the story of Princess X by faithfully following actual events.
Gabriel Abrantes
The artist and filmmaker Gabriel Abrantes was born in 1984 in North Carolina. He studied at the École National des Beaux-Arts, Paris (2005-2006) and at Le Fresnoy Studio National des Arts Contemporains, Tourcoing (2007) and received a BA in Cinema and Visual Arts at Cooper Union, New York in 2006. Gabriel Abrantes’ work has shown in many international museums including: MIT in Boston, the Palais de Tokyo and the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris. His films were screened in various festivals such as the Indie Lisboa Film Festival, where he won the New Talent Fnac Award in 2009 for the film Visionary Iraq. In 2010, A History of Mutual Respect, co-directed with Daniel Schmidt, was awarded Best International Short Film at the Locarno Short Film Competition. Fratelli, directed by Alexandre Melo, won the festival Curtas Vila do Conde, Porto in 2011. In 2010 he founded the Mutual Respect production company. In 2016 his film Freud und Friends was selected in the Berlinale.
Selected Filmography
2016 A Brief History of Princess X 2015 Freud and Friends; Here in Lisbon – Episodes of a City 2014 Taprobana 2013 Ennui Ennui 2012 Zwazo (Birds)