Marie Craven

by Chris Luscri

photo: Candida Baker

Australian independent filmmaker / digital artist Marie Craven was honoured by the Artist Film Workshop on March 15, 2018 with a retrospective screening of her works.

Chris Luscri met up with her whilst she was in Melbourne and spoke with her.



Chris Luscri:   Marie, thank you for coming down to Melbourne and I guess, did you come especially for the screening? 



Marie Craven: I came down to see my mom, my 82 year old mom, but I was delighted that it was possible to have the screening at the same time.



CL:     You've been working on the Gold Coast for quite awhile now. How has that conditioned the kind of change in your methodology between 8mm, 16mm, and the early digital works, to now working almost exclusively with online, collaborative work?



MC:    Well, really the difference was that as soon as I moved up to Queensland, I lost all of the cultural connections that I had in Melbourne. And so I guess I turned to the Internet as a source of possible artistic collaboration and continuation of my work.


          At first, in fact, I was doing some digital work that was not really Internet-based. It was really more just a process of me becoming familiar with digital technology, and that was a whole new ball-game for me because I'd been working with celluloid, which obviously is a totally different technology. And for someone at my age, I didn't actually grow up with digital technology, so it was quite a learning curve. I still only really have basic kind of a digital skills in a way, that I've learned through using home technology.


          But the Internet and Web 2.0 especially has really opened up a whole range of possibilities. To start off with, I was actually doing music collaborations because one of the back-burner artistic interests that I've had is singing and music. And so I happened to stumble upon a lot of electronic musicians who were working on the internet, or putting up their work on the Internet, and had quite a social network going. I realised that they didn't have vocalists in their work, and I thought that they might be interested in vocal electronica.


          So I started getting in contact with these people who, in a way, I'd really just started off first being fans of. They were delighted to find somebody with a nice enough voice to want to put into their music. I did that for quite a number of years, and was very active in that. 


          I also learned a lot in this time about Internet collaboration, i.e. collaborating with people that you're never going to meet, which is an interesting process. As such, I have quite a lot of internet friends now that I'd have to call friends given we've been working together for the last 10 years, even though we're still very unlikely to ever meet. There has been quite a lot of exchange. I suppose it's a bit like the old pen-pal style relationships



CL:     Yeah, like letters back-and-forth.



MC:    It is. But also, the other thing about collaborating on the Internet is that it can be quite impersonal also. I try to be as open as possible to the conditions of collaboration, and to be very adaptable to the different personalities that I'm going to encounter. I have collaborated with a huge number of people now, both with music and with “poetry film”, which is really my specialty these days, or “poetry video”, I should be more precise, because it's all digital based.


          Some of the collaborations have been almost wordless really, and also working with people who don't speak the same language as me. And so we're using Google Translate to get some rough idea of what each other are saying. Those are probably the main ways that I can think that my practice has really changed.


          Essentially though, I've still got my own artistic voice that carries through from the early days of the Super 8 film-making and into the more industrial mode films that I made. The short films that I made with funding from the Australian Film Commission.



CL:     How do these new projects get generated in the first instance? Do they start with you coming across or stumbling across material online that you then think, “Well, this is interesting, I'm going to build something around this?” or do they start with communication or things like accidental encounters?



MC:    It can be any of those things. I actively seek material, so I spend a huge amount of time trawling through the Prelinger Archives, and through Creative Commons available material, through stills, video, and also poetry, music. I have a lot of electronic music connections from my days of being a vocalist. And I was very prolific as a vocalist with these musicians as well.


          It's generally a combination of finding new material, where I may or may not even have any direct contact with the artists who's produced it, or somebody that I haven't encountered before but who I come into direct contact with over the internet or even in-person, as has been happening more recently. Or else people that I have longstanding associations with as well.



CL:     Such as the poet Matt Hetherington…



MC:    Well, Matt Hetherington is a new collaboration that's really only been happening over the last year or so. Actually probably less than a year. That's a development where I'm working more with an Australian poet, who’s also a performing poet as well. He does his own voice work and many other things, including being a DJ, and other kinds of artistic collaborations…



CL:     I want to try now to tie it back to the old Melbourne Super 8 Film Group, and those kinds of nodal somewhat, informal arrangements that you get through meeting and working in and around other practitioners. Do you see a connection between the Super 8 days and the current work?



MC:    I see the connection mostly through the mode of production in that I've always been drawn to domestic technology. It allows me to be more like an individual artist in some ways, in the way that I do things. In fact, in the early days, I was much more of a “mini auteur” in that I was really trying to develop my own voice. That was really what all that was about for me.


          I was highly influenced by the historical avant-garde. Not so much seeking to be avant-garde myself, or the most cutting edge of artists, but rather being inspired by the work that had come before me. So in a sense, actually, I'm looking on it as a tradition, strangely enough. So basically, that was a way of working that went on for that period of time when I was making Super 8. And then that really changed once I started getting funding for films, because then that became a much more collaborative process.


          These days, it’s really a combination of the two. It is highly collaborative, what I'm doing now, but it also does allow a lot of creative freedom too, for the individual or for all of the individual artists who are involved in the process.


Filming BLOW in 2001.



CL:     What was your first exposure to what we can broadly class as experimental cinema? When did that happen and how did that happen?



MC:    That probably happened in about 1984, I think, or it was around that time anyway. I should actually preface this by saying that I was seeing a lot of art cinema, European art cinema, at that time. Probably the most striking films that I was seeing at that time were by Jean-Luc Godard, and frankly I didn't really understand them. I was just going along and looking at them, wondering what the hell they were about really. But nonetheless, I was intrigued…



CL:     I guess this would've been his contemporaneous films of the period, or his earlier films?



MC:    It was his earlier films, yeah. You know, really not growing up with that kind of cinema as part of my experience. Bear in mind that I was very young at this time, also. It was an expanding of the possibilities of cinema language to me. But the single avant-garde film I remember seeing around that time was Sally Potter's Thriller.


That one really spoke to me a lot because it had such a interesting fragmented narrative, and I've always been interested in narrative. I started off in the theatre. There were a whole lot of other more abstract experimental films in that program, but Sally Potter's film really stuck out to me. So yeah, that's where it started.



CL:     There's essentially two splits within the earlier films, between the mode of narration that you could call formal narrative - in terms of playing with genre and reworking the of codes, say, women's cinema and things like that. And then some of the more kind of poetry-led, ephemeral narratives of the later films. Was that always a kind of dialectic that you saw developing early, or did that sort of come through practicing?



MC:    Everything has come through practicing, really. I have been exposed to a lot of critical theory, uh, it's not really my passion…



CL:     Like Laura Mulvey’s work, was that an influence?



MC:    Yes, but only in a sort of, in a roundabout kind of way. I wasn't passionate about reading these kinds of books. As you know, I was married to Adrian Martin for six years and we were together for nine, so I've really received quite a first-hand kind of education from him. In fact, he actually was one of my teachers, in the first instance. But it was a couple of years later that we actually got together as as a couple.



CL:     And he was making his own Super 8, I think, around that time or maybe earlier?



MC:    A bit earlier than that actually. That was kind of a slightly earlier generation of artists, like Adrian and Philip Brophy.



CL:     The Clifton Hill group.



MC:    Yes that’s right. They were a little bit before the Melbourne Super 8 Group, which was really where I started making films.




CL:     Talk me through like some of that experience with how a group like that was negotiated, how it was set up. Were you central to the creation of the Melbourne Super 8 Group, or did you come in slightly later?



MC:    I came in slightly later.



CL:     What were politics of that like, just in terms of just the personalities that were dominant in the group?



MC:    It was fairly collective based. I remember Bill Mousoulis being very central to it, also Sarah Zadeh, who was Sarah Johnson at the time. She was around right at the very beginning as well. I came in really not very long after it had been formed. That's my memory of it anyway.


          Bill might tell you a different story, but it was about 1986 when I arrived. I'd already been part of the Sydney Super 8 Film Group, but I wasn't an active organising member. I was actually just a member and was screening films at their late nights screenings.



CL:     And you weren't making films yet at that point?



MC:    I was actually. I did one year of study at what was Melbourne State College at that time. It became the Institute of Education at Melbourne Uni. I’m not sure what it is now. Arthur Cantrill was the head of department there and he was one of my teachers. Adrian was the film criticism teacher, and Monique Schwarz was actually my first film teacher. The first film in the AFW program (Journey) is actually the first film I ever made and that was as a student at the college. Monique was very encouraging of me at that time and I'm forever grateful.



          I’ve always been a bit of a gadabout about in my life and I've lived in quite a lot of different places. Even though I spent most of my life in Melbourne, I wasn't actually born here. I was born in the country.



CL:     A cattle station or a sheep station?



MC:    Yeah, a cattle station out of Deniliquin.



CL:     Was there any exposure to cinema around that time, or to the fine arts or anything like that?



MC:    The only thing I really remember from… I do actually have quite a lot of memories from that time before we left, which was only when I was five years old. I do have quite vivid memories of the cattle station. And the thing that really struck me at that time were Shirley Temple films. I love Shirley Temple.



CL:     That's interesting. There's sort of these threads in the films to do with like the kind of address, presentation and construction of womanhood. There’s this social side but there's also a kind of private, personal, intuitive dreamlike side as well. It seems like those films that you were making in, let's call it the Middle Period, the AFC-funded works, were kind of bridges between those two states. And you were sort of adopting a more conventional narrative framework only on the surface, but underneath there are all these kinds of strange, asynchronous weird impulses and things happening.



MC:    Yeah, well dreams have always been very inspiring to me creatively. Even just on a basic level, I often think about dreams being at least one third of our life, you know, roughly. I mean we're asleep roughly a third of our life if we get enough sleep, that is! So I guess the nature of reality is kind of an interesting question to me because of that, that reality that we enter into in our sleep.


          I’ve always been interested in dreams and even to this day I'm really interested in my own dreams. I had interesting dreams last night. Hmm. What can I say about that? I guess that I'm more interested in the unconscious. I don't really trust the rational mind in lots of ways. I'm more interested in what comes from the unconscious, so dreams fit in there as well.



CL:     And that also connects to a very old tradition, not just within the avant-garde film arts, but within the of surrealist movement.



MC:    True


Night Court



CL:     Things like dreams have always sort fed into a particular mode of work very, very strongly deference to, say, automatic writing, and trying to find a methodology that sort of links to visual arts. Do you find that kind of automatic or even ritualistic side of filmmaking is a way to connect to that?



MC:    Yes. Well actually I did write a film script, a feature film script, and I used automatic writing techniques to develop it.



CL:     How did that work in a practical sense? What was that process like and did you have a kind of methodology for how that was gonna work, or was it more something that you just kind of entered or was in flux the whole way through?



MC:    It was pretty much in flux. I suppose that my experimentation is quite personal in the sense that I'm always wanting to teach myself something new along the way.  I ended up co-writing that script with two other women, but in the initial instance I was writing it on my own…


          Nonetheless, it was an interesting process and it was a learning process for me. So it was actually very convoluted and I generated a huge amount of writing and then narrowed that down to a narrative feature which was rather impressionistic. So that's how it kind of went into a feature film form. But it did have a narrative flow, albeit one with two different timeframes. So that's the sort of long and short of it really.



CL:     Were the timeframes interwoven?



MC:    They were interwoven, yeah.



CL:     And when you were writing, did they start as discrete fragments?



MC:    Yeah they did. I had the habit of writing down my dreams every day and also then entering into a period of free writing. Just putting the pen to paper and say what comes out.



CL:     How did that build off your early experience? First with the Super 8 films and then later on with Pale Black and Blow? Was that sort of located in the middle of that period or towards the end?



MC:    That was actually all throughout that period. The script went on and on and on in its development process, and had a number of stages of Australian Film Commission development funding. So I just kept developing that all the way through, alongside making the short films.



CL:     Like it was feeding in and moving out of other projects?



MC:    Yeah.



CL:     What was it like working with professional actors?



MC:    Well, it was great because I really, as I said, started in theatre and I love acting as a process, and so, I felt really privileged to be working with actors. Maidenhead in particular developed in association with actors improvisation workshops. That script was very episodic and it was quite literally based on dreams that I'd had, which was also the case with Pale Black.


          But they was sort of formalised in the process of turning them into films. They weren't as free as they originally came out [ed. at the writing stage]. That was the process there.





CL:     Are you sort working out things like camera position, sound etc. in the conceptual stage, or does that come out more fluidly when you're working on set?



MC:    The conceptual phase is not really a big part of the process for me. I actually prefer to engage with the materials themselves, whether that be the act of writing, or the act of working with actors in workshops, or whether that be sitting down with poems and music and images and seeing what I can do with them for a poetry video. So, you know, I'm not all that into actually developing a really strong concept in advance. I'd rather collaborate with a medium or the media.



CL:     I feel likewise.



MC:    Yeah.



CL:     And where did the sort of ideas start “coming” in relation to the more period settings and subject matters of films like Maidenhead?



MC:    Well, Maidenhead’s very theatrical and that does hark back to my theatre background and even really going right back to my love of Shirley Temple because I loved musicals as a child. I've always had this interest in music and that goes back to childhood as well, and singing. There is a musical sequence in Maidenhead and also a very musical kind of abstracted soundtrack that was put together by Philip Brophy.


          Yeah, so with Maidenhead I was really quite conscious of wanting the colours to be very bright in order for it to have that hyper real kind of musical quality about it. And that was an exploration of genre, I guess, because I'm interested in all sorts of genres of cinema, all sorts of different things that you can do with cinema.



CL:     There’s also a strong sense in the films that there are tropes that are kind of activated into a new realm. Part of that is the kind of filtering through dream logic, that don’t stay kind of stable as tropes. This sits in opposition to a lot of the heavily conceptual work that uses genre tropes, I think [ed. such as soda-jerk’s recent, film-historical remix piece Terra Nullius].


          I think that’s partly the danger of conceptualism. You come up with an idea or you’re drawing on a trope in a kind of post modernist sense. And then they tend to remain fixed if you’re following through a concept in a linear fashion. Whereas in your work, there really the sense that the material is transformed at every key stage, whether it's in the writing, or an on set with the actors, or later on when you come to do some of the final work in the in edit and with sound design, composition, grading etc.



MC:    Again, it just really harks back to my interest in dreams, the unconscious and also just the realm of the subjective. I'm more interested in subjectivity then objectivity, definitely. 



CL:     Which sits well with cinema of course, because cinema is all about movement and flux, rather than A to B to C linear progression, I think.



MC:    Yeah. And I've always had an interest in cinema as poetry as well. So it makes sense. There’s a connection there, you know, it makes sense that I'm now making poetry videos with written or spoken poetry. I think that, yeah, like early on with the Super 8, I was looking to be poetic with the cinema, in both image and sound. When there is sound, that is, because I started off first of all just exploring images and making silent films, in a kind of methodical way, and then sort of moved into sounds from there. 



CL:     When did the processes of sound first become attractive to you?



MC:    Well it was when I was making Morena, I guess that I felt that I'd explored enough with just silent film and had some sort of fragile handle on what I was trying to do or how I was trying to develop my voice with the images. And so, then I became interested in adding sound to that because, essentially cinema is an audio-visual medium. It was quite primitive in the first instance - both of them [ed. the later Super 8 films Morena and White Woman] actually had cassette soundtracks. They were only roughly synched, and it was music based. I was using music that had words, but they were in a foreign language that I didn't understand. And so I was quite interested in just the abstracted elements of those too.



CL:     The musicality of it? 



MC:    Yeah?


White Woman



CL:     What does that create in terms of discoveries when you're playing the film and the soundtrack simultaneously? Do they get played at exactly the same time? Well, they can’t, can they?



MC:    No, they can’t. So there's an element of chance. I love chance actually in the creative process as well. The random elements, the surprises. I'm just really interested in being surprised myself in the process of making things. I like to just keep learning all the time. I don't really just want to repeat myself over and over again, because for me personally that just gets boring.


          As long as there's something to learn, I don't mind having a continuous flow carrying through from where I've started over 30 years ago. Not just don't mind it, I like it, but there's always going to be some new element to it for me. 



CL:     Have you ever been stuck on a project before, and if so, what did you do to progress through it? 



MC:    Yeah, actually I suffered really badly from writer's block when I was trying to write Landless, which was the script that was developed with free writing techniques, and it was the free writing techniques that helped me get out of it. The other thing that helped me get out of the writer's block was that I decided to collaborate with some other writers.


          One of the things that I think about Australian film, I'm not so sure that it's the same now, but at the time that I was working with funding, there was this expectation that you'd be able to write a short film and then leap up to a feature. And actually, there is quite a difference between writing a short film and writing a feature film. It’s a huge… it’s a huge learning curve and so it's not surprising really that you might get to writer's block in that process. Also, earlier on I was much more of a perfectionist.


          I still am a perfectionist in certain ways, but I have over the years managed to mediate that so that I don't actually get to the point where your perfectionism actually stops you from being able to do anything, which is pretty horrible. 



CL:     There's also the necessary stage of getting lost, which I guess adds a degree of madness or stress or pressure when you're writing a feature. I'd imagine you'd be sort of one third of the way through and forgetting what you’d written 20 or 30 pages back, and then having to refer back to that but then losing the affective, atmospheric thread that you're chasing. 



MC:    Yeah. Actually the atmospheric thread was probably something that always stayed with me. That was in a sense… that's where I had been talking about voice, the voice that's inside you that wants to be expressive, you know, that wants to sort of give a feeling or communicate something that's actually pretty non-verbal to an audience. Because otherwise we would just speak to people really, if that's what we're all about.



CL:     It sounds like there are threads here that connect back to Arf Arf and the work that you did with Frank Lovece et al on Thread of Voice. Diid you find yourself sharing key creative duties on that project, or was your role more that of a facilitator on the project? 



MC:    Yeah, I was more of a facilitator on that project. I came in on post-production and really sort of was their mediator with the AFC, because it was a very radical project for the AFC to get their heads around.



CL:     Usually so, yeah.



MC:    But nonetheless, they were very generous in wanting to fund them, you know, they recognised the value of Arf Arf and sound poetry. But, you know, it didn't really fit in very well with the usual AFC processes and so I sort of handled that side of things and gave them as much creative freedom as possible, which was very easy because I just always admired what they did and loved it.



CL:     Do you feel that there's a space now for that kind of work within, let's say, “entry level” industry or do you feel that the whole scope for that kind of level of support has totally disappeared? 



MC:    I'm really not sure. I tend to doubt that the kinds of processes that were being used back then, and that was really in the nineties, as probably at the tail end of these sorts of experimental processes being possible with funded films. I have a sense that it's really become more strict and regimented as the world has become more strict and regimented.


          But I'm only saying that really from my sense of things. I'm so out of contact with the actual film industry in the way that I work that I couldn't tell you how it would be to try and do something like that these days. 





CL:     It seems to be like a common sense that I have from talking to people, particularly those who were active through the '80s and '90s, that it may not have felt like a golden age at the time, and probably in many response respects wasn't, but nevertheless there was a scope or a little corner or a little patch of turf with which to operate in that doesn't exist in the same way now. It feels much more like multi-form now, where in order to do this kind of work, you’re kind of having to patch together resources, collaborators, materials from all over the place. Is that sort of partly the reason you've moved into the field that in now [ed. poetry videos]? 



MC:    I feel that I've come full circle, and that I'm working again domestically, which gives me a great deal more creative freedom, vast amount more creative freedom. A much happier creative experience and longevity also as a filmmaker, which is not something that everybody gets really.


          I highly value that and I'd like to keep making videos or films, whatever really comes my way, whatever the technology transforms into. I’d like to continue doing that, because I’m 55 now and it's been something that I've been with since I was in my early twenties. 



CL:     Yeah. I guess that leads to another question in terms of the scope for retrospective evaluation or the putting of this work into a kind of broader context. Partly what's attracted me to putting on this program is to really try and understand where your work is situated in terms of not only filmmaking but, broadly speaking now, digital media and new media art and things like that. Is that something that you’ve been conscious of across your career [ed. the curation or evaluation of the body of work], or something that you've wanted to do or tried to do?



MC:    No, I’ve been a bit like Don Quixote chasing after my own windmills really! I have been, right from the start, highly personally motivated in my relation to cinema, but nonetheless really have valued the cultural background that I had. The contacts that I had with other Super 8 filmmakers.


          The Super 8 Film Group, just as a tangent, was a very diverse group of filmmakers. Some were making straight narrative films. Some were making personal narratives. Others were making purely abstract films. It was just a really interesting group of misfits, in Melbourne particularly. In Sydney, it seemed a little bit more cohesive, the cultural agenda of the Sydney Super 8 filmmakers. But in Melbourne it was really a bunch of misfits who had the opportunity to come together and create something unusual.


          And then all of the cultural contacts that I've had since… They all feed into the filmmaking, but I prefer not to really be too self conscious about how that fits in to the broader context. I sort of leave that to other people to make sense of it, if there is any sense!



CL:     I've observed this in my own practice, between splitting my time as a curator and as a practitioner that, that there isn't really all that much overlap, and in many respects it's important to keep them separate. One mode moving into the other can be tricky because then if you start adopting the mode of a curator, thinking about your own work in that way can be problematic because then you can start to, you know, censor or work at certain things from the perspective or how you want to come across rather than what you want to do.



MC:    True. I mean, I do have an audience in mind to some extent. I think that there's a kind of three-way conversation going on between the artists, the medium and the audience really. And without the audience, there's something missing. So in that sense, it's not a completely self indulgent practice, but it is highly personal nonetheless, and it's kind of trying to speak with some intimacy.



CL:     I guess part of that is the image of the letter, the idea of passing on a very specific thing to someone, as opposed to thinking of the audience in an abstract or generalist sense. And in that way, it sounds quite similar to how you work with your collaborators. This kind of passing on of something quite tangible. So it almost feels like your video work, you could sort of hold it in your hand. 


          There's something about that that works against, in some respects, it's status as kind of permanent digital media that kind of sits there floating around on the Internet and charting it's own life in very abstract, strange ways that you don't have total control over.


          The work feels like it’s something handmade, I guess, in a way that works against the technology, which is what's interesting. 


Poem for Rent



MC:    Certainly. I relate to that because it’s something that is made in the home, I suppose, in that traditional kind of “female artist” mode. It's related to the kind of practice that women have done with writing diaries or journals, with craft work, various kinds of craft work, or miniatures, particularly with the video poetry. I think of miniature paintings and things like that.



CL:     That also leads to the kind of, um, feminist or at least feminine qualities of your work, which is not something that I feel well versed enough to speak to. But I do think it's important to sort of think about your work in that context, for instance, the question of your status as a “female experimental filmmaker”. How much of that is self defined and how much of that is imposed? And how do you feel about that kind of discussion?



MC:    Mainly I really just am myself as a woman, and I make films. I have identified with feminism at various times in my life. I'm not in a particularly political phase of my life at the moment. In some ways I'm kind of quite overwhelmed to where the world's going and uh, you know, I've probably retreated a little bit into creativity.


          I suppose I haven't been a highly politically motivated artist. I'd have to say that. I've just wanted to be myself, as an artist. 



CL:     Yeah. Which I think is, um, somehow closer to the kind of aspirations of many of those movements anyway?



MC:    Well, I think that's true and I think that for me, you know, I potentially can express more complex truths about being a woman than if I had a particular political agenda…



CL:     Or a party line?



MC:    Exactly. A party line is what I'm talking about. Yeah, I sort of resist that. 



CL:     That also relates somehow to the women's film co-ops, which I think were around that same time, too? I know there was the sort of constellation of people like Margot Nash who were practicing. Did you have much contact with that scene?



MC:    Not really. It was a bit before my time, it was more a seventies phenomenon, and I came in to it later. 1984 was my first film [ed. Journey, the first of Marie’s Super 8s] and so there was kind of the seventies feminist movement, which was much more overtly feminist.



CL:     People like Barbara Creed, academics making films...



MC:    Yeah. And I really admire all of that too, you know, but it was at a different moment that I came into being as a filmmaker. 



CL:     It feels like there were these successive periods of freeing up that sort of allowed artists from successive generations to pick up some of the trails from that, but to go with it in their own ways. It sort of feels like now we've moved back from that now that, where the squabbles have become much more internecine and party-political. We have more specific agendas now than then at that moment which I sort of define as as the late, mid to late nineties, where it really did feel like there was more space for the kinds of complex truths that you articulate in your own work. It wasn't so reduced or tied to a particular agenda.


          We were talking before about the kind of diversity movements, the modern diversity movements and the way in which, at least in my opinion, curtail personal, individual expression in deference to taking a more generalised view of the social politic. It feels like your work is very much not part of that, but expresses that [ed. aspects or relations of feminism] in its own way.



MC:    Yeah, I hope so.



CL:     The local rather than universal, as a way of saying more about the universal, strangely. Does that make sense?



MC:    Or at least saying something about the universal, hopefully.



CL:     Yeah, yeah,. I think I, that's what I most admire about what film can do in that, through the kind of microscopic, you can actually show things with much more detail and much more clarity than if you were taking a panoramic shot of, you know, resistance movements like you'd see in a film like The Battle of Algiers, as opposed to one person in a room thinking about or working on something much more specific.



MC:    Yeah, definitely. But I guess it also comes down to that earlier thing that I said about being highly influenced by the traditional avant-garde, and of course Maya Deren comes into it.


          Actually, the funny thing was that the very first film I made - Journey - I hadn't seen Maya Deren’s films at that time, but the feedback that I had immediately was that it was very influenced by Maya Deren. So of course in, I went out and explored and found that that was obviously the case, but I hadn't strictly speaking been influenced at that time.


          But yeah, I certainly became really interested in that. And again, it just goes back to the surrealist movements. I’m really sympathetic to surrealism and all of the things connected there that we've been talking about.


Chris Luscri tends to have several fingers in several pies at once - as producer, curator, editor and director. Some of his projects have been completed, but not many. He has been warned about this. Who knows, he might amount to something? His father, Rocco, disagrees...

Published March 27 2018. © Chris Luscri and Marie Craven, 2018