Personalien (Albert Serra, 2019)


What’s this all about?

Nowadays they call anything art. Nowadays they even show porn movies in museums.

Invitation to a Whipping

Dear reader,

Albert Serra invites you to a wild orgy set in a French misty forest during the 18th century.

You don’t have to come in a fancy dress from another era. Casual clothes are more than acceptable. In fact, we’d rather you don’t get naked during the party.

When you arrive, the organisers will introduce you to a dark room with two screens opposing each other on each side. This will create a much more immersive experience.

The celebration starts at 10 am when the museum opens, but you’re free to arrive at any time.

Don’t worry about feeling lost—there’s basically no plot in Personalien, just like any other avant-garde movie, just like any other orgy, while we’re at it.

There are no seats in this screening. You can walk around the room at your free will. But be careful and try not to bump into anyone. You wouldn’t want anything weird to happen.

Take advantage of the two screens. If you're not into fellatios, you can turn left and watch a man whipping a peasant, but if that doesn't excite you either you can close your eyes and hear the spankings, groans, cries, gasps or muffles. Or you can leave. Nobody will hold you against your will. Everything is consensual in Personalien, by the looks of it.

Serra is not overtly explicit—even though there's plenty of nudity and depravity—as he's more interested in the guests who watch and participate and, as he did with his two previous features (Story of my Death and The Death of Louis XIV), in the French aristocracy's decadence.

As a spectator, you’ll become a voyeur who spies on other voyeurs because cinema, after all, has always been about voyeurism, and Personalien would be the culmination of that idea.

Please let us know if you can join the party before its run ends.


Audience Reaction

It’s like watching porn in front of strangers.

It was uncomfortable at certain moments because people came in and went without actually knowing what all this was about, and found me alone, in the middle of the room, surrounded by the moans of a woman having an orgasm.

I was on my own for most of the projection. Only a man in his forties and a guy in his twenties stayed longer than 10 minutes; the rest opened the curtains and left straight away. When I got there, three French women were exiting the room in a panic mode. A bunch of teenagers started to giggle the moment they saw a naked lady being whipped. Some people were unengaged when they only saw images of a forest and never knew an orgy was taking place.



I first saw the last 20 minutes and then the first 20, but, when there’s no plot development, it doesn’t really matter when you start.

MVP (cast)

N/A. It’s not like you’ll pay attention to the performances.

MVP (techs)

The sound design is crucial for these type of video-installations that aim for an immersive experience.

Why am I watching this?

  • Yeah, why am I watching this?

For Your Consideration

Best Video Installation - Best Short Film - Best Director: Albert Serra



Directed by Albert Serra | 2019 | Spain

Rating: 8.5