VIDEODROOM 2023: Claire Rousay x 'The Bloody Lady'

+ GAME x ‘The Idol’ & ‘Cinema’
VIERNULVIER & Film Fest Gent
  • Fri 13.10
    Miry Concertzaal, Gent
    Biezekapelstraat 9, 9000 Gent

We celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Viktor Kubal, the father of the Slovak animated film. American electroacoustic composer Claire Rousay provides Kubal's "The Bloody Lady" with an all-new live soundtrack!


The trippy Czechoslovakian animated film "The Bloody Lady" (1980) - original title: "Krvavá pani" - is based on the lurid folk tale about Elisabeth Bathory (1560 - 1614), a Slovak noblewoman accused of murdering hundreds of girls and women. The reason for her murderous intent: hoping to remain eternally young, she allegedly literally bathed in their blood. Some historians see her conviction as an unjustified witch hunt; others say she is one of history's first known serial killers. Stories of her alleged crimes quickly became legend - it is rumored that Bathory was the inspiration for Bram Stoker's novel "Dracula" (1897).

The film begins like a classic Disney fairy tale, with happy forest animals hopping around the Countess, but soon takes on a dark twist. During a storm, the countess gets lost in the forest. Feverish and exhausted, she reaches the hut of a woodcutter, who cares for her until she recovers. Out of love, she gives him - literally - her heart. This immediately changes her character: the heartless countess begins to treat her favorite animals cruelly and takes baths in virgin blood.


American electroacoustic composer Claire Rousay combines cello with ambient field recordings and electronics. Her music focuses on emotions and details from everyday life - voicemails, ambient recordings, stop watches, whispers and conversations - and explodes their meaning.

Rousay opened for alt-country superstar Jeff Tweedy last year. Her beautifully esoteric, occasionally challenging instrumental pieces, are often compared to Steve Reich's minimalist work or that of meditative composer William Basinski.


Viktor Kubal (1923 - 1997) is considered the father of Slovak animated film: his "Zbojník Jurko" (1976) is the very first Slovak animated film ever made. Kubal is known for his minimalist drawing and narration style, with which he achieves maximum effect. 

In 'The Bloody Lady,' his pseudo-historical horror-dramedy about Elisabeth Bathory, Kubal communicates not with dialogues - 'The Bloody Lady' is, apart from a brief intro, a silent film - but through minimalist images and the music of Juraj Lexmann. Kubal intersperses his Disney parody with wry humor and anachronistic jokes. Although most of the killings happen offscreen, Kubal does not shy away from bringing the "rejuvenating" carnage into focus.

Claire Rousay