Unfolding the Aryan Papers
Unfolding the Aryan Papers is as much about a film that never happened as it is a portrait of the chosen lead actress Johanna ter Steege.
Directors Jane and Louise Wilson
Producer Pinky Ghundale
Director of Photography Alistair Cameron
Editor Reg Wrench
Actress Johanna ter Steege
Commissioned by Animate Projects and the BFI with The Stanley Kubrick Archives, University of the Arts London.
Unfolding the Aryan Papers is as much about a film that never happened as it is a portrait of the chosen lead actress Johanna ter Steege. It begins with images of Johanna taken in 1993 by Stanley Kubrick - they are of the wardrobe shoot for the film Aryan Papers. Johanna was to play the lead role of Tania, a compelling character. Tania is central to the film: she is a Polish Jew trying to save herself and her family from the Nazis.
When we visited the Kubrick Archive, we were intrigued to look at the detailed research for a film that never made it into production. The amount of research is overwhelming and it seems to have overwhelmed Kubrick himself. The research left him very depressed and he abandoned the project.
The work takes its title from Kubrick's film and, intercut between stills of Johanna, are images from the archive of specific scenes Kubrick wanted to recreate and images from the Ealing Studios Archive of interiors, shot in 1939/40. The film moves into live action with footage of Johanna filmed now, fifteen years later, where she appears to come to life, recreating stills from the original wardrobe shoot.
Filmed on 16mm and transferred to HDCam. Live action footage edited with stills scanned from The Stanley Kubrick Archives.