the art of life blogspot
May 30, 2005
There haven’t of course been as many Australian artists who have made feature films. There was Davida Allen’s eye watering confessional short film Feeling Sexy but we’re struggling to think of any others. That was until we read Antonella Gambotto’s piece Words In Motion in The Australian’s Forum section in Review on May 21.
Gambotto is one of Australia’s leading self publicists who forged an early career interviewing pop stars in the UK for Australian street press before graduating to the grown up world of novels, newspaper columns and her own self aggrandising web site. Although officially “a babe” and a member of MENSA, Gambotto’s writing goes a long way to prove that just because you’re a genius and very sensitive, it doesn’t then follow that you can write.
Gambotto is the author of some duff novels, short stories and a non fiction account of her brother’s suicide. By some quirk of fate, it now turns out that Adelaide based artist David Bromley is turning some of Gambotto’s stories into a feature film, as the author recounted in her piece for The Australian:
It was as if Alexander and I had been hit. On screen, Hugo Weaving — haltingly, and with such elegance — read from a sheet. (I have never met Weaving. Some years ago, our glance briefly interarched in Sydney's Ariel Bookshop. His eyes were lamps. He was taller than I had imagined, and his fingers formed a loose love-weave with those of his young daughter.) There he suddenly was, forever captured in the act of reading my words of love to my fiancé, Alexander. The pressure on my heart as I watched was unexpected. Alexander, too, said he could barely breathe. I had first read this poem to him on the telephone from the bed that would soon be ours; now the poem was part of a film I Could Be Me, made by the artist David Bromley. The film, based on a series of stories that I wrote, does not conform to traditional cinematographic formulas. Instead it flows seamlessly from image to original image, with words and music delicately superimposed. It is the most beautiful film I have ever seen, not because of my own involvement in it but because the spirit in which it was created defies the sterile modern gods of market research, profit margins, brand reinforcement and demographic merchandising.
Our heads are swimming in the detail, coming a' cropper on the big rock that is the word “interarched” before being swept away in another mixed metaphor.
We have confessed here before that we had a thing against David Bromley based on the fact that we had him mixed up with West Australian critic David Bromfield and we apologise to both for the ongoing embarrassment. Of course, how a flat cap wearing Yorkshireman with a penchant for Imants Tillers and Mike Parr could ever have painted the bare breasted beauties of David Bromley’s canvases, we don’t know, but we live in shame at our mistake. Bromley is a successful artist with a very nice house that’s been featured many times in life style magazines and his illustrative painting style has proven very attractive to many buyers. As to how he will fare as a film director, especially one who does not bow to the wishes of the market place and the dreaded demographic merchandisers, we don’t know, but Gambotto has this to say on the process of turning words into images:
Words are my means. I wrote: “Her words had changed the shape of me … I breathed her skin. And all I wanted was a boat and an afternoon like this to sail her away in.'' This year I'm 40 and I have yet to understand how my love can indirectly work a stranger's jaw. How did Weaving became a vessel of my love for Alexander? How did Bromley summon from me words? And how is it that Alexander inspires in me this sea? Are writers and artists alchemists or the alchemical process itself?
Consider this. In 2001, my brother Gianluca committed suicide and in his memory I wrote The Eclipse; through Gianluca's death, I met Alexander and the man who introduced me to Bromley's work; on my first date with Alexander, we attended the opening night of Bromley's exhibition; my stories about Alexander helped shape I Could Be Me; Bromley is now painting Gianluca's portrait, and shots of me with Alexander are in the newly published book of Bromley's film.
When Bromley and I were in discussion about the film, he emailed me this jumpcut of opinion of my stories: “I find them to be beautifully multi-dimensional … they are at once straightforward & complex … I adore the poetic scenarios & would love to use those as echoes & dialogue throughout the film to reinforce the short stories … I hope when you see/hear/feel your words in the film you'll get goosebumps … a film can be great but the energy surrounding its entry into the world can make such a difference to its momentum … I'm now off to the studio to hopefully turn my pumpkin into a paintbrush & easel … much love.''