THE LONG AND THE TALL OF IT
Violets Are For Your Soul
a review.

Violets Are For Your Soul is the first 16mm release by Lara Quintin. Quintin has been involved with the Regina film community, on and off, for over ten years and is currently the president of the Filmpool. This film, although short (3.5 minutes) and silent, is an important artistic and political statement. It premiered last December at the "A Touch of Red: member's new works" screening.
Violets features a series of images culled from a barrel of discarded film. These faded fragments of the past have been displaced from their original context and, with a layer of paint, instilled with new life. While numerous loose narratives may be read into them, essentially the film remains abstract; fireworks which touches something different within each of us.

The title refers to a biblical proverb that the filmmaker was often told by her aunt -- that if you have two pennies, with one buy bread and with the other, buy violets for your soul. Lara always new that just because one is broke, it does not mean that all extravagances must be denied. Perhaps with inflation, the proverb is, if you have $40, spend twenty on take-out and twenty on making a film. This has been Quintin's approach.

Without the aid of grants, investments, broadcast licences or independent wealth, the realm of filmmaking APPEARS closed. This is simply not so. Last November I conducted a single evening workshop which discussed a variety of techniques for drawing, scratching and chemically altering the surface of clear, black or image-bearing film. Each attendie created a work 20 seconds in length, except for Lara Quintin. Over the next few weeks, one could not enter the Filmpool without facing the stench of bleach as her experimentation with resists and image degradation grew to an obsession. In the end, her three minute camera-less film Violets was created.

This process had begun as economic statement, that "film" could be removed absolutely from "industry". As she says "I see films made with lots of money and it doesn't make them good". However, the process of making Violets evolved into a spiritual act. The budgetary limits (she declared she would not spend more than $20 on its entire production) became more an inspiration than a hinderance. "Creativity is where you meet your challenges, where you have limits". Upon questioning her about other inspirations she told me "Only about 10% of experimental film, I like. I'm not making experimental film because they inspire me, I make them because I want to experiment".

Quintin is currently working on a follow-up to Violets. This yet untitled work is a variation on the last approach. This time she is appropriating the sound from found film while attempting to completely removed the original images. She uses many of the same means of colouring, most notably faux-stained-glass pigments, poured over the recycled celluloid. The stage she which currently immobilizes her is the arrangement of the final pieces. Film fragments with painted images and optical soundtrack were to be arranged randomly to create unanticipated juxtapositions. Like a game of Yatzee, the story would fall where it may. However, Quintin has been struggling to give up that degree of control. To guide the film would allow her to make her desired statements. To allow the pieces to "find their own way", would avoid potential judgements about the final work. Authorship versus anonymity is the final conflict Quintin must face before progressing on her filmmaking path.

"Certain people need to touch the medium of film. You can't do that with video, it doesn't really exist".

"There should be light boxes everywhere."

Gerald Saul 2005