Bartleby – Melville´s “Story of Wall Street”

A film by Andreas Honneth

Lenght: 96 min, digital HD CAM, sound: Dolby SR, shooting format 35mm
and HD, black&white and colour, with a historical 35mm camera Debrie

The film LETTERS is an experimental adaptation of “Bartleby, the Scrivener”, Melville´s “Film of Wall Street”, which interprets this “cult story”, commented by theoreticians like Deleuze, Agamben, Hardt/ Negri and Zizek, as being paradigmatic for modern times. It is a self-referential allegory in the form of a satiric tragicomedy.

In the office of a Wall- Street lawyer, who had been looking for a personal assistant, comes a pale and silent scrivener, a nobody called Bartleby. In contrast to the three other employees of the lawyer  he is very busy at first, although he copies his papers mechanically and without passion. But after a while he starts using a formula of polite rejection: “I would prefer not to”.

To the lawyer´s consternation and confusion, through these refusals without
agitation or anger the formula and its logic of perferences opens up a a distance towards the routine of the office, a zone of indetermination and indifference, which gives way to the feeling for the what-could-be.




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