Thank you Mark, Shelley, Jeffrey, Mike, Ale, Sven, Scott, Ward, and others that have shared your thoughts about my film “Man Drawing a Reclining Woman”. I’m in the process of crafting a “statement” about the work or my intentions with my projects. Some film festivals ask for a director’s statement so I figure it might be good to have something ready to go. This is my first draft of ideas that stem from the thoughts of those that have seen my film to date. I personally don’t feel to keen on stating some of these things since I worry that it may rob the viewer (or even myself) of serendipitous discovery of something meaningful in the work. But this whole thing is an experiment so here it goes.
The film “Man Drawing a Reclining Woman” is an experimental short subject. It is not intended to be a narrative with a protagonist overcoming an obstacle to attain a goal which is the basis for so many films.
- My intentions in the film are, on a very basic level, about objective observation of a man drawing a woman.
- A second level of intent is to explore artistic observation between the artist and the subject and to extend that idea between the viewer and the film.
- A third level of intent is the play between opposites such as man/woman, the bisected nature of the woodcut, art/pornography, and viewer/viewee.
- A fourth level of intent was to follow up on the concepts of opposites with a self-referencing notion that this film is about a man drawing a woman but in fact the characters/actors are not people. The deliberate artificiality of the puppets (ie. exposed armatures and crude rendering), artificial environments, and the final artificial manner in which the work would be seen (ie. theaters and television screens) are intended to be consistently obvious throughout the work. The characters are introduced fully clothed in a mechanical manner reminiscent of a wind up toy only to be dismissed to the nothingness from whence they came, nude in fact, by the act of voyeurism. The fact that the drawing device at the center of the entire piece is a man-made convention to re-create a person on a piece of paper is also intended to provide a persistent anchor to reference this level of deliberate artificiality.
My film states what it is about, shows what it is about, and then starts referencing and juxtaposing those themes. That’s really all that is going on.
One lady at the festival commented on the fact that the woman had voluptuous breast but the man had no penis. That observation not only provided some comic relief to our chat about my potentially pretentious film but it also hit on one of the themes I was exploring much more effectively than I had hoped. In my opinion, she was in fact picking up on a reference to the whole social and cultural approach to the depiction of sexuality and the nude figure in art and commercialism (ie. the anatomical nature of toy dolls such as Barbie and Ken).
One young man at the festival provided unsolicited comments about the more obscure levels of the film, going so far to talk about objectification and sexuality in film. Mark and the reviewer at creative loafing picked up on the aspects of observation, art, and the role of the viewer of the film. All of these comments, even with the caveat that most people claim to not understand the work, reflect that I was able to get some observable motifs across pretty well.
With all that said, the flaws that may be present in my work and which concern me are whether I’m misleading a viewer with too much obscurity, too much information, or superficial style choices that provide no indication that the film is more open and interpretive than narrative entertainment. Perhaps parts of the film imply one genre but then deliver on something else? That might explain why some people state they don’t understand it while at the same time they are able to describe objects and events in ways that I intended.
I do know that I want enough layers of information and obscurity in my work so people can assign their own meanings. The goal is to find a balance and a way to communicate my intentions in an effective but flexible way. I know I feel that way about many songs that I love. Many songs have lyrics that make no real sense when you read them but those phrases when embedded in the context of the song with its instrumental containers create vivid visuals that are meaningful to me.