One of three sisters becomes lost in the wood where things have no names. Its ephemeral shadow-light filters into the room of the other two, who search for her in their own reflections. It is a tale of sisterhood and the loss of sisterhood, quest and the failure of that quest. Its images are made through a series of long-exposure time-lapses inside a large camera obscura structure, and its text is based on a series of fictionalized real events and Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass.
16mm, 9 minutes (2016)
Screenings: Haverhill Experimental Film Festival, WNDX Festival of Moving Image, VISIONS May 2018
Awards: WNDX Jury Prize for Best International Work
“The filmmaker’s grandfather, suffering from Alzheimer’s, remembers, obsessively, an episode from his youth: an elegant young woman climbs over the railing of the pier and jumps into the water; he saves her. The old man’s speech becomes more confused; the women of his family repeat the story, now become mythical, using re-speaking techniques inspired by “verbatim theater”; the filmmaker reconstructs the scene, casting a young woman whose blonde chignon brings to mind Vertigo’s Madeleine. Yet the moment comes when the grandfather has to be brought to a nursing home, where, gradually, he fades away. His mind, his breathing, fly away with the passing time, along the flowing water. The last image that stays with him, is that of the pier…”
The tradition of storytelling is tightly bound up in a process of repetition and revision, drawing from a continually swelling fountain of stories, cultural phenomena, and personal experiences. The Unbound Tale embraces the position of the storyteller, participating in its rich tradition of adaptation and using this process to unpack how stories shape reality. More specifically, it approaches the fairy tale.
Unbound seeks to confuse the perfect symmetry of the fairy tale by muddying and graying its black and white binaries. Roles are reversed from good to bad and bad to good, and characters become more complex in their motivations. Figures that occupy a space of love or hate are reframed to shed light on the multifaceted history of their development as characters. Glorified muses step out of the frame to reclaim their lost identities, and demonized witches and stepmothers are re-envisioned from an empathic perspective. One by one, these figures are unbound from the constraints that govern the fairy tale and given the chance to speak with a voice of their own.
As a genre which has been unquestionably bound by the male authorial voice–from Disney, to Perrault and Hans Christian Andersen, to the Grimm brothers and other producers of anthologies–Unbound repositions the fairy tale from a female perspective. This change in perspective allows it break free from the hegemony of the patriarchal lens as exemplified by the adaptations of these male authors, revising the way in which one views these tales and the characters that inhabit them.
The Unbound Tale is comprised of four films:
Student Experimental Film Festival in Binghamton, Special Jury Award, 2013
Student Experimental Film Festival in Binghamton, 2013