Photograph by Alex Kozobolis
I like character-led powerful emotional drama, heart-wrenchingly intimate and unflinching. I want to portray the inner lives of characters in turmoil, people struggling to change their lives, battling their demons or moral or social constraints; haunted characters, psychological breakdown, emotional loss or alienation; for it is often traumatic events that mark us and make us who we are. I want to depict the spiritual journey of characters going through such times in life, and if and how they find transcendence. Influences are Ingmar Bergman, John Cassavetes, Krzysztof Kieslowski, Lars Von Trier, Terrence Malick.
My short films have often focused on the inner lives of female characters and their struggle with the social roles prescribed for them. Motherhood, marriage, and family are social contracts we often take for granted, yet they bind us and we struggle to find fulfillment or self-determination inside these structures. But I am not just interested in portraying the lives of women, but the human struggle to achieve transcendence against the forces that restrict and contain us.
In terms of genre, my films have so far have tended towards poetic neo-realism. Influences include Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne who won the Palm D’or with ‘Rosetta’, ‘The Child’ and ‘The Kid With A Bike’. I particularly admire ‘The Promise’ for its marriage of neo-realism with fairytale narrative structure, creating a surprising, uncanny naturalism. I admire the delicate visual storytelling of films by Kelly Reinhardt (Wendy and Lucy, Old Joy); Lucrecia Martel (The Headless Woman); and Kore Eda Hirozaku (Nobody Knows, Afterlife, Still Walking).
I love stories where uncanny elements are involved and the narrative takes an unexpected turn, especially when this suggests a magical or animistic universe. Apichatpong Weereasthakul did this beautifully in ‘Tropical Malady’ and Tarkovsky does it in most of his films. Noir, psychological thriller, science fiction and horror genres lend themselves easily to such narrative shifts, but it is especially effective in naturalistic drama when we least expect it. I am interested in developing a form that has it’s roots in realism, yet operates within a dream-logic and acknowledges all our senses, including the intuitive realm of the sixth, telepathic, symbolic, visionary, where existence does not rely on physical facts, but in feelings, a kind of ‘ether-realism’. Influences are Andrei Tarkovsky; Lars Von Trier’s ‘Breaking the Waves’; Werner Rainer Fassbinder’s ‘Berlin Alexanderplatz’ and Elem Klimov’s ‘Come and See’.