The Rape of the Sabine Women is a reinterpretation of the Roman myth, updated and set in the idealistic 1960's. Filmed on location in Athens and Hydra, Greece, and in Berlin, Germany, the 80 minute video was directed by Eve Sussman with an original score by Jonathan Bepler, choreography by Claudie De Serpa Soares, and costumes by Karen Young.
The Rape... is a video-musical conceived in an operatic five act structure that opens in Berlin's Pergamon Museum, moves to the S-Bahn and Tempelhof Airport, Athens' Agora meat market, a classic modern 60's dream house overlooking the Aegean, and finally, Athens' Herodion Theatre. Forgoing the compromise of the original, the Rufus Corporation's re-imagining pits mid-twentieth century ideals against the eternal themes of power, longing, and desire. A modern process piece created in improvisation-a product of 180 hours of video footage and 6000 photographs-the video with 7.1 sound installation features compositions by Jonathan Bepler, recorded live on site , incorporating a bouzouki ensemble, a Pergamon coughing choir, and a chorus of 800 voices.
The most successful element of Rape of the Sabine Women is composer Jonathan Bepler’s “score.” Unconventional and entirely original, Bepler draws on his experiences making noise for Matthew Barney’s Crememater Cycle to deliver a maddening, strained, and contained cacophony of electronic coughs, whispers, sputters, and gurgles. But never any screams. This is important, because it is Bepler’s work that really hammers home Sussman’s intended technique of provoking without satiating......
Most notably, all dialogue is replaced by an amazing original score by Jonathan Bepler. He worked with a host of musicians and singers, who sometimes improvised during filming. The heady weaving of sound and image is the work’s greatest strength.
Artforum’s annual “Best Of”. David Byrnes “Best Of Music 2007″
07 Jonathan Bepler’s scores
When I recently saw Eve Sussman and the Rufus Corporation’s video Rape of the Sabine Woman, 2006, and Matthew Barney’s filmic collaboration with Arto Lindsay, De Lama Låmina (From Mud, a Blade), 2004, Bepler’s scores and sound design stole both shows. In each case, Bepler realized the common but challenging ambition of making ordinary sounds, speech, and environmental music into music.