Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sally Potter's 'Orlando'

In 1992 I saw an amazing film by Sally Potter called 'Orlando.' It re-interpreted the book penned by Virginia Woolf with the same name. The androgynous Tilda Swinton was the lead in this production and was incredible in  her portrayal of first a young noble in Tudor England, an ambassador in Turkey, and then a woman fighting to legally hold on to her family estate. While the production values and the themes of this movie hinged on the boundaries created by our genders, the visual references were so vivid for me that this movie was indeed my 'Eureka Moment'. There were dazzling scenes such as skating on the frozen river Thames, the formal gardens at Blenheim Palace, and the exotic architecture of the Far East. Each was more mesmerizing than it's predecessor and by the end of the film I knew I had to do something creative with my future.

At the risk of sounding cliched this film demonstrated to me the power of the visual medium...and how my background as a student of ancient history was to play a role in the formation of my own company. The true talent of Potter was to draw all the elements dramatic tableaus, contemporary music (Jimmy Sommerville from Bronski Beat as an Angel!) and the seismic shifts in the gender divide. This film conveyed to me the potential to translate beauty from concept to reality....from idea to tangible. (All for the bargain price of about $7.00) What an ideal way to save on HECS fees!

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