What Girls Are Made Of
Saskatchewan Filmpool Co-operative
1822 Scarth St. 3rd floor
Regina, SK, S4P 2G3
Friday, February 18, 2000, 8:00 pm
Curated by Gerald Saul

This is our forth annual screening of films by Canadian women. While I promised humour in the poster description, I am afraid that this is not really the case. Tonight=s films are the darkest so far in this series. They deal with memories which time has tried to suppress but had failed to squelch. Insanity, suicide, birth, injury, trauma, pain, and death are the subjects of the evening. One might argue that the fears of the approaching millennium have revealed themselves through these filmmakers. Each of these women grapple with the pain of history, seeking to transcend it through public exposure. The question remains, as we enter into a new millennium, can we begin again with a clean slate or perhaps, as Judith Doyle contends, Athere is no way to get rid of your own history, no matter how much you try@.

Mothers of Mine
Alexandra Grimanis, 1999, 15 minutes, colour
With this film, Grimanis explores memory, focussing in particular on the memory of her mother and grandmothers. Fragmented pieces of memories often seem unrelated and irrelevant but in this film, all the fragments begin to take shape into a story of pain and despair. From holiday films to shelling peas, the snippets of imagery are the mundane fragments of what we retain from the moment. In meditative slow motion, the film expresses the importance of holding, and nurturing, those fragments.

The Light In Our Lizard Bellies
Sarah Abbott, 1999, 8 minutes, black and white
Based around a dance performance entitled AFour Ways of Approaching the Door@, this film sidesteps the traditional dance film styles to construct a creepy landscape into which we follow a newborn. From not-quite-solid darkness, we find ourselves intimately connected to a voiceless figure. As she grapples with her mortal frame, sound turns to noise and even the images we see are unstable through our innocent eyes. This film about the pain of transformation is by director Sarah Abbott, whose films My Withered Tomato Friend, Froglight, Why I Hate Bees have all been enthusiastically received at previous Filmpool screenings. From shooting and hand-processing to neg cutting, Abbott is a true independent filmmaker. This is arguably her finest work to date.

The Last Split Second
Judith Doyle, 1998, 7 minutes, colour

In this film, the director uses the words transcribed from a 1981 recording of Andy Patton to underline an exploration of how we experience, and remember, trauma. As the disembodied voice describes her spine-injuring accident, we are prevented from being emotionally moved due to the objective precision of these memories. The words, calm and collected, are echoed through text on the screen. Images bleed one into the next as life for the narrator becomes nothing more than a dream. In time, ever-present pain becomes less of a reality and more of  a social expectation. What is life come to when you find that Amachines are nicer than people@.

Gariné Torossian, 1999, 9 minutes, colour
ASparklehorse subtly conveys, with characteristic poetry, the ways in which people communicate with and value each other in a world of spiralling mediation.@
- Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre catalogue description:: 

Zyklon Portrait
Elida Schogt, 1999, 13 minutes, colour
This portrait is not of a person but rather of a chemical. A man=s voice, in the classic voice-of-God style of old documentaries, establishes the FACTS. Science and tactics are clearly in the male domain, as this voice reads carefully worded chemistry notes as well as excerpts from the writings of Hitler and other Nazi members. In counterpoint, a motherly woman=s voice, informally reflects upon her memory of these never-to-be-forgotten times. While the words of the man are practised and concise, the woman concludes her statement by observing that Athis is the first time we=ve discussed this@.  Filmmaker Schogt uses only images to express her voice. The film is an assemblage of multi-layered metaphors. A swimmer moves silently past the underwater camera, alive but not breathing, constricted but not struggling. Blue fingerprints cover the frame at another point, forefronted as if these might be the only mark that one might leave behind. Old wedding film footage is slowed down, as if  to trick us into thinking that we remember the moment it was taken. Tragically, memory IS fleeting.

- Gerald Saul -


Gerald Saul 2005