|Meshes of the Afternoon
|Maya Deren, Alexander Hackenschmied
|Céline and Julie Go Boating
|Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles
|Jane B. par Agnes V.
|La DOUBLE VIE DE VÉRONIQUE
|The Watermelon Woman
|Athina Rachel Tsangari
Meshes of the Afternoon
A surrealist séance wherein Maya Deren doubles, and triples her presence into a silent stream of encounters with “the self”. In this elliptical and essential experimental work, we see Deren resurrect her subconscious through the threaded expectoration of keys, the climbing of crooked stairwells, obsessive observation, and the re-staging of damned dreams.
An almost impossible spectrum of pure colour streams and fuses within the fires started by Maria I and Maria II who are the marvellous masters of bombastic destruction. They are loyal to each other throughout many movements of maniacal laughter and lavish encounters in which they punch, hang, shrivel, and shred patriarchal structures.
Céline and Julie Go Boating
These two witches sew their hearts on their sleeves as they play a strange game of “catch me if you can” throughout Montmartre and finally in a library where tarot cards are tallied. They land in a house haunted by deranged dimensions, and garish ghosts. They can’t seem to escape, nor do they want to. Dominique Labourier and Juliet Berto have enduring chemistry and charisma that carry the film's lengthy staccato structure.
Twenty-year-old Yuki avenges the death of her mother, who was brutally raped by three men, using her life companion: a samurai sword gifted to her by her sensei, a priest named Dōkai. This is a film that gloriously features an unmoving, measured, and fiercely focused performance from Meiko Kaji who exudes extraordinary elegance as she dutifully follows through on her cursed mission.
Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles
It was Deragh Campbell herself who pointed me to Sami Frey’s documentary titled “Autour de Jeanne Dielman” which generously documents conversations between Delphine Seyrig, Babette Mangolte, and Chantal Akerman as they carefully shoot this opulent domestic opus. After viewing the film Campbell remarked that it was through the combined collaboration of these women that we see the formation of a new entity found famously through the potato-peeling hands of Delphine Seyrig. As each day-to-day duty is completed, the patient, persistent, and deliciously defiant Jeanne Dielman emerges in a loving portrait formulated to pay homage to Natalia, Akerman’s mother.
Jane B. par Agnes V.
Fearless and fine-tuned portraiture finds the frames of this eccentric study of Jane Birkin by her dear and frank friend Agnès Varda. Through Varda’s streamlined series of cleverly constructed sets, we are given a hand to hold as we are invited to stroll through Birkin’s life. We are privy to stages of her career, moments of motherhood, and an intimate interlude with Gainsbourg. Each inch of Birkin’s body and boldness are captured here with complete care, authenticity, and candour.
La DOUBLE VIE DE VÉRONIQUE
“All my life I’ve felt like I was in two places at the same time,” says Véronique, a French music teacher who makes this statement unaware that her other half Weronika, a Polish choir soprano, sits softly with similar sentiments. Two women born on the same day live in tandem without knowing that the other exists. One day, a portal opens. Their worlds melt together to create a metaphysical movement that explores identity and duality beyond what language is capable of describing. This, of course, is all accompanied by an exquisite performance by Irène Jacob and an incredible symphonic score by Zbigniew Preisner.
The Watermelon Woman
I possess a neverending admiration for how Cheryl Dunye utilizes hybridity to invent, construct, and manifest the history of a black queer silver-screen star with wit and total transparency. Dunye’s self-taped diaristic confessionals question the inner workings of archives while exploring the pressing concerns of a filmmaker seeking to expand and preserve history. Using subtlety and humour she creates a distinctive autobiography that drafts a dual portrait between a late legend and an early artist.
Atonal atmospheres and addictive acidic rhythms slip and slide through a deviously dark force of a film that tackles death and sexuality with unwavering originality, strength, and confidence. Two friends, Bella and Marina, spiral into a series of gestures and diversions which ultimately serve to sub-consciously cushion the imminent passing of Spyros, Marina’s father.
A trifecta of conversations surrounds Gam-hee, a woman who proclaims that she is away from her husband for the first time in five years. The film follows her as she decides to visit three rounds of friends throughout this light and ludic film which sometimes feels like a polite minuet performed in a minor key. Apples are sliced, cats are fed, hens are harassed, and seemingly lovely lunches point to a more serious kind of melancholy that is articulated brilliantly through silence and aversion.
For those that are of a truly perverted cinephilic nature, we might all agree that it is a violent gesture to subject oneself to the never-ending electric elasticity that comes out of the attempt to create such lists. In order to ease this honorable arduous exercise I decided that I would work thematically. Throughout all of my filmography, I work collaboratively with an actress. Together we created and developed an alter-ego named Audrey Benac. This “best of” list represents a personal assortment of (some) slightly lesser-known works that have inspired my filmmaking practice. It frames female-identified friendships or connections found in film that come in the form of duos, döppelgangers, doubles, shadows, shapeshifters, companions, heroines, and phantom forces. For me, these selections are centered and grow from one unmistakable masterpiece: “Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles” (1975) by Chantal Akerman. Interestingly, one of the stars of Godard’s "Bande à Part" (1964), Sami Frey, made a documentary on the very production of this film titled “Autour de Jeanne Dielman” (1975). Borrowing from Frey, my selection is composed of films that surround this seminal work and embody the execution and exploration of personas. They are films that were made pre and post “Jeanne Dielman”, they are works that dip, dive, and soar into many variations, tones, and temperatures of what it is to feel a true connection, dependence, and fascination with another being, legend, or spectre. This docket is dedicated to Deragh Campbell.