Shirley - Visions of Reality

The film uses 13 cinematically vivified paintings by Edward Hopper to tell the story of a woman who lives in a reality she doesn’t accept as given but rather as a made up and changeable construct and who sticks to her convictions in moments of truth. “While Shirley and her partner Stephen, a photo journalist for the ‘New York Post’, share an apartment on only two occasions during these three decades, their private and professional lives are deeply connected: unemployment as a result of the depression, disappointment after the betrayal of Group Theatre members in front of the Mccarthy committee, repressions as a result of the politically-minded theatre, career retirement as a result of ill partners, loss of partners, retirement to the countryside and questioning of the effectiveness of art, emigration to Europe – personal destinies that are pursued in front of and influenced by worldchanging events, cultural revolutions and socio-political upheavals. History is made up of personal stories.” (Gustav Deutsch)

The film tells the story of a woman. A woman in America in the 30s, 40s, 50s, and early 60s. A woman who attempts to influence the course of history with her professional and socio-political involvement. A woman who doesn’t accept the reality around her as given but rather a made up and changeable construct. A woman who works as an actress and is used to staging reality, portraying realness and is therefore able to question and shape it herself. A woman who doesn’t strive for solo success as an actress or stardom in the future but feels like part of a collective aspiring to give social potency to theater. A woman who can’t identify with the dominant role model of the concept of a wife yet longs to have a life partner. A woman who doesn’t compromise in moments of professional crisis and isn’t afraid to take on menial jobs to secure her livelihood. A woman who in a moment of private crisis decides to stick to her partner and puts her own professional interest on the back burner. A woman who is furious with political repression yet doesn’t resign in despair and who has nothing but disdain for betrayal. An attractive, charismatic, committed, emancipated woman.  

Orig. Title
Shirley - Visions of Reality
92 min
Gustav Deutsch
Orig. Language
german version
Gustav Deutsch
Gustav Deutsch
Jerzy Palacz
Christian Fennesz, David Sylvian
Gustav Deutsch
Christof Amann
Stephanie Cumming, Christopher Bach, Florentin Groll, Elfriede Irrall, Tom Hanslmaier
Art Direction
Gustav Deutsch, Hanna Schimek
Mija T. Rosa
KGP Filmproduktion
Available Formats
Digital File (prores, h264) (Distribution Copy)