Directed by Duane Michals
Interview by Zach Shinske
In the last decade, there have been television shows and films that were successful because conceptually they experimented with uncommon themes or unexpected plot twists. This piece, however, explores a radically different visual aesthetic, which is a less common tactic seen in mainstream media. What made you decide to create something that so obviously sets itself apart from traditional storytelling?
I was interested in showing the layered emotional responses of three people experiencing the same moment. By overlapping movement and color, I felt it suggested an atmosphere of anxiety that they all experienced simultaneously, beyond just their physical presence occupying a room.
In this film I imagine three people sharing an emotional moment. Rather than relying on dialogue, I suggested the layered passions of their emotions be expressed in color and movement. The film is not static but it overlaps in the way that a cubist painting is fragmented showing visual planes simultaneously. It’s nontraditional in the sense that it speaks to us beyond the two dimensions of the screen. I had hoped to suggest pure emotion with this technique.
As a non-verbal piece, one of the things that really struck me was the movement of the actors, which was enhanced by the visual effects of the piece. What was it like to work with the actors on set? Were the visual effects inspired by the movements and physicality of the actors or did you have a really good sense of what you wanted the end result to look like from the start of the project?
We overlapped the various takes which fractured the authenticity of the moment. The process we used fractured the scenes propelling the story forward. We had the effects in mind first, but we asked the actors to give their best performance, as if no effects were going to be applied. We constructed the visual effect in post production.
For the majority of your career you’ve been an artist. How do you think your career as an artist has shaped your perspective as a filmmaker?
I did filmic still photography from the beginning of my work suggesting stories. It was a natural progression to go from that type of photography to making movies.
You’ve also been incorporating narratives into your artistic pieces, so in what ways has cinema inspired your artistic vision?
Cinema has liberated the possibilities of expressing my ideas. It has made my photography four-dimensional. It has added breath to the silent image.