Born 1966 in Kirchheim unter Teck, Germany
Lives and works in Berlin
Freedom & Independence, 2014,
FREEDOM & INDEPENDENCE, Melhus’s most recentexperimental short film, questions the current global, ideological paradigm shift towards new forms of religious capitalism by contrasting the ideas and words of the self-proclaimed objectivist philosopher and novelist Ayn Rand (1905 – 1982) with the evangelical content of US-American mainstream movies. This contemporary fairy tale, in which Melhus performs all the characters, was partly shot in a Berlin morgue as well as in new gated urban settlements in Istanbul. Against the backdrop of a unfathomable megalopolis, the story unfolds in an associative dream logic in which its protagonists spout concepts of neo-liberal elitism in the context of hallucinatory, apocalyptic, religious delusion.
The film begins in a sacral space, where Randi, the figure that references Ayn Rand, transforms a parapsychological medium into two digital clouds and sends them on a journey through a megalopolis in full growth. There they materialize as two bodies, Mr. Freedom and Ms. Independence. In the following passage, through a city in transformation increasingly shaped according to capitalist interests and where privatization swallows up any sense of what is public, Mr. Freedom and Ms. Independence recite Christian-fundamentalist rhetoric and head towards the biblical apocalypse and doomsday. However, their supposed salvation is nothing more than a return to their original state of ‘medium’ and to their uber-mother Randi.
The film ends in the post-mortem examination room of a morgue where Randi rules over a crowd of sick, half-dead, masked men.