Albert Serra’s Liberté

Liberté Serra

Originally published by frieze, March 8, 2018

Shapeshifting in both form and function, the work of Catalan filmmaker Albert Serra extends far beyond the cinema. A frequent disrupter of the medium’s prescribed models, Serra has long moved fluidly between the screen and the gallery, but his recent work in each field has evinced an increasing interest in the stage-bound dimensions of the theatre that was barely suggested in such early, folksy pastoral films as Honor of the Knights (2006) and Birdsong (2008). Bringing this preoccupation to what, for a lesser artist, would seem a logical endpoint, Serra set his most recent feature, the ravishingly macabre historical drama The Death of Louis XIV (2016), entirely in the bedchamber of the slowly withering French patriarch. If, in light of this progression, it seemed inevitable that Serra would one day try his hand at theatre proper, then Liberté, the director’s first large-scale work for the stage, confirms less a disciplinary reappraisal than a formal reallocation by other means.  Continue reading