Meredith Monk & Bob Rosen: Ellis Island

Ellis Island, Meredith Monk & Bob Rosen, 28’, USA / FRG, ZDF 21.1.1982, No dialogue

The short film is the first episode of The Travelogue Series. “Travelogues' are voyages on a Time Machine that navigates back and forth across the thin line separating history from myth, narrative from metaphor. Combining elements of theatre, dance, an original music score, and photography, each episode is a journey, at once imaginary and real, to a place that has played a formative role in the history and consciousness of Western civilization”. One such place is Ellis Island, the island off Manhattan, the first stop for immigrants to the USA. In the ruins of this historic migration centre, with her music and careful choreography, Meredith Monk brings the past to life in a fascinating way.

Meredith Monk (*1942) is a well-known American composer, singer, dancer, filmmaker and choreographer. Monk’s works emerge at the intersection of music and movement, image and object, light and sound, with the aim of discovering and interweaving new modes of perception. She has received numerous awards for her interdisciplinary works, including the National Music Theatre Award, the National Medal of the Arts and the John Cage Award. The film Ellis Island (1982) was made for Das kleine Fernsehspiel. Bob Rosen is an American filmmaker and co-director of Ellis Island. His documentary and experimental films have screened, among others, in Rotterdam and Cannes. He previously worked with Meredith Monk on the film adaption Quarry (1977).