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MATTHIAS VON BRAUN, the London-based film-maker highly regarded for such surreal shorts as Devoid, Switch and Decay, has now added a fourth title — Machine — to his oeuvre of dark, fetishistic pieces.
The new video is scheduled for official release on October 31 on Von Braun’s YouTube channel and website (links below), and is watchable from that date on both his sites — as well as further down in this article.
Machine is, says Von Braun, “a dark surreal nightmare set deep underground in a post-human automated factory, where a bio-mechanical android bursts from her artificial foetal sac, discovers her body and rejects her sexuality”.
The film has already had well-received screenings at a number of festivals, beginning with London’s FrighFest, held over the August Bank Holiday.
On October 21 it was shown at Obscura FilmFest at Berlin’s prestigious Zoo Palast cinema — where the director and Machine’s star, dancer Melanie Whitehead Smith, attended in person for a Q&A.
The film is also set for inclusion in the upcoming London Fetish Film Festival, taking place in Islington on November 17-19.
For her role in Machine, Melanie was painted head-to-toe in black liquid latex, and is also seen performing in a custom-made latex sac courtesy of designer Black Sheep Latex.
MELANIE WHITEHEAD SMITH (she/her) is a London-based dance artist with a passion for interdisciplinary work. Her practice centres predominantly around dance and recorded media, and she says she is currently “exploring the intersections between movement and film”.
A recent graduate of Falmouth University with a first class degree in Dance and Choreography, she also works in theatre as an actor, performer and collaborator.
She has appeared in several short films and music videos including a recent Emili Sandé video, has modelled for commercials and has worked as a film extra.
To coincide with the public release of Machine, Matthias Von Braun has announced his next project, a “larger-scale short film” called Impenetrable. It will feature performers Lilith Newson and Arthur Griffiths and starts production in January.
LILITH NEWSON (they/them) is a performance artist and model “whose practice revolves around expression using the body, and artist personas”.
Their live and video performances have explored self-love, trauma, non-binary identity and glamouring.
Often at the forefront of all this is “an expression of sexuality, gender identity, and body politics in a contemporary context, the translation of intimacy onto digital platforms, and achieving transcendent states”.
Alongside their own practice, Lilith explores the position of the muse, the abstraction of identity through modification, and how other artists’ interpretations of their body all confront us with the reality of illusion.
ARTHUR GRIFFITHS (they/them) tries to create “a space that allows each of us greater access to the collective spirit which permeates all experiences”.
By evoking honesty, communication and raw self-expression, they are “an active part of the convergence between the material, ego, and the shared abstract realms of imagination and possibility”.
As an actor, Arthur has worked with directors such as Sam Mendes, Danny Boyle, Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks.
As a musician, Arthur has recorded two albums with a third underway, and their photography has been published by The Guardian. Arthur’s poetry has been praised by world-renowned poet Dermot Bolger.
Matthias Von Braun youtube
Mattthias Von Braun website
Matthias Von Braun Machine
Melanie Whitehead Smith website
Lilith Newson public insta
Arthur Griffiths insta
Black Sheep Latex website
London Fetish Film Festival tickets