Grotta Profunda, Approfondita is ostensibly based on the 19th-century religious experiences of Bernadette Soubirous in Lourdes. That historical nugget is merely a springboard for an exercise in high camp, one that includes a sort of psychedelic nude ballet and a didactic explanation of racial divisions that uses ice cream as a defining metaphor.
The purpose-built theater for Jardin’s piece is easy to overlook—keep an eye out for the funky, gooey-looking sculpture of a hand that serves as an entryway. Inside, you can ponder some big questions: What’s up with Jardin’s come-hither Jesus, who coyly promises, “You love me, and I love you,” while clad in a blue loincloth? What exactly is a “mermaid-monkey,” and why is she in such pain? And, perhaps most importantly, how seriously does the artist take her own pseudo-philosophical voiceover script (probing nature, art, the human race, and everything under the sun)? The film offers a lusty, absurd break from the bustle of the main show—an actual cave to hide inside, gleaming with a satanic red glow. —Scott Indrisek