The Mystery of God Revealed
video, 34 min, 2004
The video tells the story of Hal Beckoff, a
62-year-old singer, actor and writer from New York, whom I have been filming
Hal has worked as a typist throughout his life. In 1997 he quits his 10-year
job as a legal secretary at a law firm in Manhattan to devote all his
time to writing his second book, a bible interpretation called "The
Mystery of God Revealed". Two years later he is evicted from his
apartment in the Upper West Side. Thus begins a three year long odyssey
through various homeless shelters, and a growing unrealistic believe in
the commercial success of his prophetic book. Recently Hal settled at
the "Woodstock Hotel", a residential facility for senior citizens.
His book is still unpublished and he now lives entirely off Social Security.
The film juxtaposes his story with excerpts of his writings and performances
of heartbreaking songs, which further emphasize Hals isolation.
"The Mystery of God revealed" reflects upon structures and rules
of a society aimed at success, efficiency and individuality. Challenging
our definitions of success and failure, the work poses questions about
of what is left of the promise of the American Dream. Giving voice to
a person commonly considered a failure, we are asked to rethink cliches
of "outsiders of our society" such as the unsuccessful artist/writer,
the prophet, or the homeless.
Concept / camera / editing: Heidrun Holzfeind