Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Two Lives

 I've been thinking a lot about collaboration lately, about how living and working together must be just about one of the highest states of being: crashing the frontiers of music, art and film, combining the personal and the professional à deux.

So, it's terribly timely that Club des Femmes (a collaboration) is staging Two Lives this Friday in London, showing cinematic work by mostly female duos. I jumped on Skype to chat to CdF's Selina Robertson to find out more.

So, Club des Femmes. It's not about French film, but it is about film. Tell us more.
SR: Yeah, well, we named ourselves after a French film that was one of the first films that had a lesbian character in one of the dominant roles. We are a queer feminist film club and we started in 2007 and we basically do pop-up events in London and sometimes in Berlin. We screen a mixture of shorts and features, and we have Q and As and parties and lots of things.

OK. And you've got an event coming up in London on September 28.
Yeah, we have an event which is part of the Scala Beyond season and is at the Horse Hospital. It's a short film programme, plus a documentary and it's called Two Lives, which we named after Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. The programme is about collaboration and partnership and how people respond to working partnerships, whether they're lovers or family or best friends.

So, why did this topic interest you?
Well, we were asked by Scala Beyond if we wanted to participate in this two-month season. The Scala Cinema was really known for putting on kind of schlocky B-movie stuff, but also a lot of really interesting 16mm work and new work. And we sort of took the Scala Beyond season, sort of the spirit of it, not the letter of it. I was amazed at how many film clubs and organisations wanted to participate in this season. So, we thought of it as a massive collaborative process and we wanted to do an event about collaboration and then we decided to focus on a few filmmakers, at certain times, some from the last century and some from this century, partnerships and filmmakers who work in partnership.

What do you think is the significance of women collaborating?
I think it's an interesting relationship. For example, we're showing some work by Tove Jansson and her girlfriend, who was a graphic designer. They just made sort of home movies together. But then we're showing some work by Sandra Lahire and Sarah Pucill, who are [known as] filmmakers in their own right, but then they also worked together. I think there's obviously a lot of inspiration and creativity that's sparked off with each other and against each other. I'm interested, because I don't think it's all plain sailing. I think it must be a difficult process, but also very rewarding. We've picked some films that really show how interesting partnerships and collaborations can be with queer and lesbian artists.

Two Lives is on at the Horse Hospital in London on Friday, 28 September at 19:30. Filmmakers Sarah Pucill, Bev Zalcock and Sarah Chambers will attend.

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