The Seduction of Tondelayo

1983-1998, 6:42 min, color, sound

An exercise in montage, The Seduction of Tondelayo is composed of two simple images. The first is a bomber jet in takeoff. The second is close-up of Heddy Lamarr from White Cargo, a 1942 MGM film about an illicit affair in the Congo between a British businessman and a "savage beauty" named Tondelayo. Vom Bruch cross-cuts between the emblems of war and romance, accelerating the switch to an almost stroboscopic rate, and looping the audio of Lamarr's sultry self-introduction—"I am Tondelayo"—until the words become phonetic abstractions.