Piercing, guttural screams of pain, crescendos of raw human sound, visceral primeval calls and episodes of silence form the extended aria of pain that is SCHREI 27, a new film created by Diamanda Galás and Davide Pepe. Initially commissioned as a radio work in 1994 (and subsequently performed live), Schrei 27 presents the viewer with an unrelenting portrait of a body suffering torture within the restricted confines of a medical facility. Comprising several short chapters of a ‘confession’ induced by chemical and mechanical manipulation of the brain, administered by doctors, this original work features Diamanda Galás and Salvatore Bevilacqua as a person who is taken to a mental hospital after arrest for treason.

Galás selected Italian filmmaker Davide Pepe five years ago to collaborate on this project that would take her original compositions for Schrei 27 as the basis for a film combining powerful visuals with additional and updated vocal and sound recording and mixing. ‘Sound remains the crucial element; the film takes us inside Diamanda’s voice, releasing feelings and emotions that have resulted in the development of visuals,’ says Pepe. ‘We wanted to translate this vision of fear and monstrous anxiety in a place where the contained have no rights, and where there is no escape.’

Galás adds, ‘As the incarcerated know, there is no correct answer to any question asked by an interrogator. The object of this kind of torture is complete demoralisation – and the erasure of all that the captive has ever known – including the fact that he was ever a human being.’