What triggers this kind of filming?
Elke: I'd like to focus on the film RED SHIFT and I am interested to hear more about your mode of montage for this film, could you expand a bit on this?
Elke: Do you mean that the film develops through the editing process?
Gunvor: Yes, that is very true.
I can't foretell how the film will turn out, as I described earlier,
and so I don't worry about
the editing before
I have all the filmed material at hand. However, in the preparation
for a film I usually have a careful list of things that I want
to cover and
thoughts about the attitude I want to have while filming and
how to film. Immediately when I see the total footage, I edit
usable, which I save and call "Outs". The next stage is cutting
out the "Maybe section", which is also saved so that I can go
back and see what I have missed in my first "run-through".
During the following stage, in building the film, it is very
helpful to only have
the most useful scenes left, it makes the searching process
easier and less cumbersome. The film is slowly built, step
and taking form.
Elke: I have the feeling that in the montage you make use of a
certain pool or stock of possible editing methods, like for example:
- reverse-shot patterns, or combining images so that they produce
a strong symbolic meaning,
but at the same time also you make use of fugitive glimpses, shots
that deny clear views or straight readings and interpretations
- you do not
settle for one method, but employ various, many layers and motions.
Gunvor: It is most difficult for me to describe the specific editing
methods I have used in a particular film, because once I have finished
a film I
don't go back and study it; I have left it behind and am on to
my next project.
Elke: I see your point, to be analytical and dissect an intuitive
process seams like a contradiction, to look at the outcome from
a clinical perspective.
Still I think RED SHIFT reached a form, do you remember the form
you had intended when you started the editing?
Gunvor: I see no contradiction in organic process and analyses, they
are both needed and depend on each other. I try to have each film
and art project be a kind of research, a journey into unknown territory
where it is necessary to analyze each step of the way to see where it is
best to continue. As a goal the new project should repeat and rely on past
solutions as little as possible. I have not used
the word intuitive, but I find that intuition does not
some inner talent
as is usually thought, it is stored knowledge, knowledge
that has been worked
on and saved throughout a lifetime and I am grateful
when it is available effortlessly.
Elke: You called it an "organic process",
I imagine now that you don't have a fully written film
Were you producing RED SHIFT as an additive process?
Meaning, did you film, look at the material, edit,
and then produce
Gunvor: This kind of process,
where you can look at the material before you film more, is very easy
and more cumbersome
film. With video you can immediately see and evaluate
what has been filmed, but
with RED SHIFT, shot in 16mm, I was in a small town
in Sweden, far from a film lab, and was not able
the result of
for a while.
In a way it was like filming blind. With other
films I had more access to a lab and it is of course
to see what
filming more. With RED SHIFT I was very careful with
lighting, to get the right exposure and being exact
the shots. Within
of filming it is impossible to know the result of
the filmed material before you see it. It is full
Did I get it the
way I wanted?
Are the scenes possible to cut and combine later
Elke: I wonder
how the actual filming/shooting is structured? Did you envision different
Gunvor: At the end of each day's filming I thought back on what
had been accomplished and visualized the next day's possible shoots
also the work needed to prepare them, lighting etc.
Elke: What triggers this kind of filming?
Gunvor: You mean the organic process of learning along the way?
I find it boring to have the film finished beforehand - I want
filming. It's an open process, open to discover things during the
filming and later in the editing. That's the way most artists work.
It's more exciting.
Elke: Currently I am thinking about affirmative versus analytical
filmmaking and where the difference lies. RED SHIFT portraits the
life of a certain
class of Western women, but without the clear critique towards
a dominant patriarchal society, like for example in SCHMEERGUNTZ.
RED SHIFT it
is a complicated kind of feminist critique, and as well it could
be read as a critique on a social class, since it exposes a bourgeois
Gunvor: I find SCHMEERGUNTZ not only to be critical, but it has
other layers that are more prominent -- the film is very absurd
Elke: What I want to say is, compared for example with Chantal
Akermans JEANNE DIELMAN, where the place of the women in the social
is clear and criticized, the criticality of RED SHIFT is not so
much in the
foreground, even though one could read it as a critique on the
bourgeoisie and how they care for their things. But it's more complicated,
the scene of the production of the dishbrush, as a low-end female
assembly-line job, which is often exploitive and dulling. It is
interesting to me how
you combined this with the scene of a middle class family, handling
and handing down jewelry from the mother to the daughter. It also
history, where middle class women were often deprived of real property
in terms of premises, and therefore could only bequeath jewelry
to their daughters.
Gunvor: Yes, it's a brush factory. It depicts a brush being born.
Many brushes, and they are all of the same kind, one after the
other, to be
of use later. And yes, it was an assembly line factory in the neighborhood.
These scenes are surprises and interruptions in the usual flow
in RED SHIFT. But in the film I am not showing the meaning of this
not all ideas are sorted out. People can interpret what they want.
I think a film should be open in that way. But in my opinion what
in the film does not represent a certain class only.
Elke: You are including flowers and plants in the film, why?
Gunvor: I have forgotten the flowers in RED SHIFT, but why should
there not be flowers in the film? I relatively recently made a
TRUE TO LIFE, that is all about plants. In that video the confrontation
lies in the soundtrack.
recently discovered Chick Strand and saw her SEñORA
CON FLORES (Woman with Flowers)
and screened FAKE FRUIT FACTORY
summer in Berlin.
Did you know
Gunvor: Yes, I met her, but she lived in Los Angeles, so we could only meet on occasional visits, when she came to San Francisco or I went to Los Angeles. I like her films, they are visually very beautiful and graphical, but I have not seen the ones you mentioned. Together with Bruce Baillie she founded Canyon Cinema, which exists still today as a film distribution company. It is still going strong and continues to be very important.