This is an eloquent and elegant book worthy of its eloquent and elegant subject. Two activist artists and artisan auteur(e)s meet on the pages of this book. Sophie Mayer's deeply personal yet learned study brings out the passion, the poetry and the politics of Sally Potter's cinema in its many transformative manifestations. Because Mayer is intellectually at ease working with everything from punk to opera, film theory to postmodernism, she is perfectly equipped give us a vivid sense of the subtle, supple, collaborative "performer" Potter is. Music and language are shown to meet in the visually arresting bodythe dancing, working, speaking, listening, desiring body. Mayer gives a full sense of how all of Potter's work, from the early performance art through the various films, combines the sensual and the intellectual, the physical and the metaphysical, the spiritual and the emotional. This truly is a must read for anyone who has ever seen a Sally Potter filmor hasn't, and should.
The Cinema of Sally Potter: A Politics of Loveby Sophie Mayer, Caroline Bainbridge
Internationally renowned as a filmmaker, writer and composer, Sally Potter has always been a provocateur: as a feminist filmmaker and performer, a leading light of the BFI Production Board generation, a British filmmaker Oscar-nominated for a low-budget costume drama, and a pioneer of digital cinema. Drawing on exclusive access to archival materials and… See more details below
Internationally renowned as a filmmaker, writer and composer, Sally Potter has always been a provocateur: as a feminist filmmaker and performer, a leading light of the BFI Production Board generation, a British filmmaker Oscar-nominated for a low-budget costume drama, and a pioneer of digital cinema. Drawing on exclusive access to archival materials and in-depth interviews with Britain's most independent director, The Cinema of Sally Potter: A Politics of Love opens up vivid historical, political, and cultural vistas to give the first full account of this extraordinary career.
Potter's award-winning films Thriller (1979), Orlando (1992), The Tango Lesson (1997), The Man Who Cried (2000), and Yes (2004), are valued by cinephiles and theorists alike for their evocative sensuality, incisive wit and explosive refusal of cinematic clichés, qualities famously crystallized in Orlando's generously and exactingly reciprocal gaze to-camera. That gaze is the dynamic core of Potter's formally and politically radical reconception of cinema in her most recent film Rage (2009), told entirely through talking-heads shot against greenscreen.
While Rage looks ahead to a new economy, both financial and visual, it draws deeply on Potter's committed refashioning of cinematic looking and listening through her attention to what dominant culture neglects and suppresses: labor, performance, beauty, poetry, listening, and the spirit of place. Putting the unseen on screen, Potter's films fill the viewer with wonder and desire, enacting the possibilities of cinema as love.
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It is rare to come across a book that so skilfully combines probing analysis, theoretical sophistication, infectious curiosity and wit in highly readable prose. The Cinema of Sally Potter is, like the work of the artist it discusses, a labor of love, which argues powerfully for the political urgency of Potter's films and their capacity to transform our perception of the world.
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