Auditorium DAMSLab > 16:45

OBEDIENCE/Her Violet Kiss

Introduced by

Peter Conheim (video message)


Friday 01/07/2022


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

Psychologist Stanley Milgram’s legendary – and controversial – “Obedience to Authority” experiments, conducted at Yale University in the United States, have been analyzed, repeated multiple times by others and dramatized (most notably in Michael Almeryeda’s Experimenter, 2015, but nothing captivates and disturbs quite like the film of the actual experiments taking place, Milgram’s Obedience (1965, filmed 1962).
With the Nuremberg trials, and the 1961 trial of Nazi conspirator Adolf Eichmann, still smoldering in the public consciousness, and Hannah Arendt’s seminal writings on Eichmann introducing the concept of “the banality of evil”, Milgram conducted a series of experiments in which “teachers” (community members who answered a classified ad, believing they were taking part in a memory study) were paired with “learners”. The “teacher” subjects were instructed – by a lab-coated “experimenter” – to quiz learners on a pre-determined series of questions and answers. If the learner answered correctly, they would move on to the next question. If the learner answered incorrectly, he would receive a jolt of pain from a “shock generator” controlled by the teacher, with increasing voltage (and pain) with each incorrect answer. No matter the learner’s protestations and cries of pain, the teacher was always instructed to repeat variations of: “please continue the experiment”… but only the “learner” knew the whole setup was a fiction, intended to test a person’s ability to resist brutal orders. Generally only seen in educational settings, Obedience has been fully restored and screens here publicly for the first time

Peter Conheim

Cast and Credits

F.: Ed English. Int.: John T. Williams (sperimentatore), James J. McDonough (vittima), Stanley Milgram (narratore). Prod.: Stanley Milgram, Christopher Johnson. DCP. D.: 37’. Bn.


Film Notes

Her Violet Kiss re-contextualises a scene from a lost silent German title Liebeshölle, 1928 (or Pawns of Passion, 1929) for contemporary audiences during a global pandemic.
The source film was directed by Wiktor Biegański and Carmine Gallone, and stars Olga Tschechowa. It was believed to be a lost film until Bruce Lawton uncovered an incomplete print in a cache of films that had been stored in a barn in Pennsylvania and donated it to the Library of Congress National Audio-Visual Conservation Center. Director Bill Morrison scanned the print in 2013, and this copy had remained in his personal archive, unseen until now. In this revision, the deteriorating nitrate print has been scanned, slowed down, and re-edited with Michael Montes’ score.

Cast and Credits

Mus.: Michael Montes. DCP. D.: 5’. Bn e Col.