I Yam What I Yam… L’invenzione is centered around the collision of two films originally shot on the same location – Emidio Greco’s L’invenzione di Morel (1974) and Robert Altman’s Popeye (1980).
Sant's protagonist is isolated in different times, different films and different places, all of which are one place. In Emidio Greco’s 1974 film L’Invenzione di Morel (a cinematic adaption of Adolfo Bioy Casares’ novel La Invencion de Morel), our traveller wanders the coast until he stumbles upon an austere but luxurious ultra-modernist mansion. In it he finds a group of people trapped in a perpetual present by the ‘invention’ of the mysterious Morel: a temporal ‘projector’ that forces them to repeatedly relive the same hedonistic week. Peter Sant’s 2012 reinvention of this film is shot on the same location (the north-west coast of Malta), follows the same story-line (at least to start with), but occupies another world. In place of the mansion, Sant’s traveller finds himself in the cartoonish rendering of ‘Sweethaven’: a set built for Robert Altman’s 1980 Disney film Popeye. Though there seems to be no physical trace of Greco’s elaborate set, Altman’s remains largely intact. Built to last from imported Dutch and Canadian timber, thirty years on ‘Sweethaven’ is now a rather shabby Popeye-themed tourist attraction.
Excerpt from an essay by Dr. Angus Cameron (University of Leicester) taken from the accompanying screening booklet download a copy here or browse though below.