“You’re just an idiot looking for adventure”, says a Chechen soldier of Renzo Martens in the Dutch artist’s discomfiting 45-minute film Episode 1 (2003). That’s one take on the chameleonic character he plays, ostensibly an artist making a documentary in war-torn Chechnya to impress a girl back home. He’ll film hospitalised amputees, unable to say why. He’ll quiz an infatuated girl flirtatiously about love – because, he cruelly concludes, he wants to understand ‘Marie’, of whom she reminds him. He’ll…
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