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“Uncanny, The Dolls of Mariana Monteagudo” is a documentary by filmmaker Elaine Minionis. Shot between 2015 and 2018, the film closely follows Mariana through the creation of her series “Uncanny”.

Watch the documentary:

Uncanny Awards.jpg

The documentary, Official Winner of PBS’s Film-Maker Project 2020 competition, has won awards in 11 festivals in the US and Canada.

           About the film

"When I started making this documentary, I would have never imagined where it

was going to take me. Everything began with one irresistible spark: fear of the

unknown… followed by curiosity, uncertainty, ambiguity. What was “that” that I

was seeing in these dolls? Why did they make me feel so captivated, and at the

same time, hyper-vigilant, alert, careful, somehow… unsettled? I could recognize

everything that was in front of me, yet there was something in these eerie dolls

that didn’t belong to my frame of reference. “The strangely familiar”, Sigmund

Freud would pinpoint… or more literally, familiar objects in unfamiliar contexts;

the presence of something somehow threatening or unknown that lies within the

bounds of the intimate. I just felt… uneasy, yet wanting more. Through this

journey of exploring Mariana’s art and mind, I realized that this psychological

experience was exactly what Uncanny meant. In praxis, as well as in theory,

everything was there. I became a victim of the uncanny. And I was happy to


But Mariana’s dolls are multi-layered, not only in physicality, but also in meaning.

We know that dolls are by default, hollow. They are shells, with fixed smiles, stary

eyes, no blinking, no movement, no speech, no emotion. However, through

Mariana’s sculptures, she manages to reconstruct and reassign a new meaning to

the concept of a doll. Through cultural collage, symbiosis of different historical

times, art traditions, religions, genres and techniques, Mariana playfully

transgresses the homogeneous and non-hybrid, and infuses her creations with

statements of our contemporary times. Her sculptures end up becoming a mirror

of many current topics, like upcycling, repurposing and creative reuse,

immigration, consumerism, the role of a mother as an artist, capitalism,

globalization and interconnection, the literary “uncanny”, contemporary art,

terror, and so on. Regardless of your first impression, her dolls are indeed, so

alive. Oh no, our panorama just became… uncannier.

To me, the beauty of Documentary Filmmaking as an artform is exactly that: the

unpredictable journey. I would like to welcome you all to embark on this thrilling

boat and travel through Mariana’s marvelous mind. Thank you so much!"...
Elaine Minionis, filmmaker

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