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The Death Waltz

Stuart Croft
2008
8 min Super-8mm film transferred to Digital Betacam and DVD
single screen, continuous gallery loop

The Death Waltz

At a formal dinner party in a baronial mansion, a Scottish man recites an endless, gothic ghost story to a group of silent guests.

The story, as told by the man, recounts the tale of two soldiers who are serving together in an unnamed war. The man describes how the couple appear at a homecoming party as violenty disfigured ghosts, and dance a frenetic 'waltz' with each other to demonic music. In the man's story, the couple return to active service, only to return endlessly to the party. The man's story is continuous, written in an entirely circular format.

The piece was shot by the film's own actors who play the dinner guests at the table. Each actor sequentially filmed part of the Scottish man's story from their 'point of view', using a Super-8mm film camera. This was passed from actor to actor around the table, concurrently forming a conitnuous, endless circle.

'The Death Waltz' makes reference to the genres of murder mystery and Hammer House, and simultaneously to the traditional codes of artists' film. The film itself appears to be a section of a larger narrative. However, the dinner guests find themselves locked within one gruesome, cyclical moment.

Writer/Director: Stuart Croft
Line Producer: Tom Dingle / Depiction Films
Lead Cast: Stephen Elliot McDonald
Supporting Cast and Camera Operators: Moyna Cope, Andrew Fallaize, Paul Fuller, Andy Greenhalgh, Jacqueline King, Roz McCutcheon, Gerry O┬╣Toole, Miwa Saeki, Michael Sheldon, Simon Shaw, Claire Vousden, Jacqueline Wood
Casting Director: Paul Fuller
Lighting: Joachim Bergamin
Costume: Susie Coultard
Music: Mark Lo
Editor: Stuart Croft

Funded by Royal College of Art Research
Assisted by Kodak / Ironmongers Hall, London

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