Charlotte Lagro

The Day the Clown Cried

Galerie Nadja Vilenne, Liège

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Charlotte Lagro
The Day the Clown Cried
10 min 40 s
Format & Technical

Double channel, loop, HD video, colour, sound
Edition of 5 + 2 AP

  • Music: Jos Netto
  • Choreography: Dönci Bánki
  • Cast: Dönci Bánki
  • Special Thanks: Alexandre Falcone, Elise and Clémentine

The video diptych The Day the Clown Cried explores the power of performative arts in dealing with the legacy of WWII through three post-war generations. We follow Dönci Bánki, a mime artist of Hungarian Jewish descent as he visits Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland. The video features a series of dances by Bánki on-site that are combined with rare fragments of the filming of The Day the Clown Cried, 1972, forming a parallel world to the mime artist in Auschwitz in the present day. The Day the Clown Cried is a movie by American comedian Jerry Lewis about a clown who is sent to a concentration camp. Considered too distasteful by art critics, Lewis decided never to release the film. In a second video we see Elise and Clémentine perform frail songs on the Ukulele, interceded with fragments of playing schoolchildren on-site. They face the ‘Citadel’, a military fortress which was used by the American military to imprison Gestapo agents after the fall of Liège in 1944.