UMBRELLA

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This piece started out as an adaptation of a very short story by Fernando Sorrentino called “There Is A Man in the Habit of Hitting Me Over the Head with an Umbrella”. I felt like the umbrella thwacking could be metaphorical for so many situations but realized that I had to make a decision to ground the character to warrant her emotional state. My creative background is influenced by a literary idea defined as the “New Narrativity” which most simply can be described as a hybrid of poetry and what we think of when we think of fiction. I was especially interested in taking on a methodology that the writer Kathy Acker tackled in her works by ‘writing her own narrative’ into great works like Great Expectations which seemed like the best way to approach this particular material. I decided that if this woman was trying to articulate her abortion experience to a psychiatrist it would be a way to leave the text as is but also ground the character to be accessible to an audience. The scenes in the office are the story verbatim and left me only to write a few scenes, ie: the club scene & the police officer scene (which does appear in the story) but was re-worked to fit the constructs of the scene. This felt necessary to let the audience get closer to this character’s experience. It becomes closer to walking the thrushes of her emotional landscape and allows her to surpass the Sorrentino text. It became sort of interesting during the production process because for the sake of grounding, first the actors and then the crew, I had to articulate a clear intention to make their purpose easier so just telling them this was what the film was about seemed to work. But in the edit, working with the material we had shot, I decided that the idea of meaning could be abstracted as long as I stayed true to cutting to the woman’s emotional landscape within in the situation. With this project, I was interested in walking down the line between narrative and complete abstraction to make something deeply personal and hugely universal all at the same time. For me, the experimental filmmakers that I have responded to most directly have been filmmakers like Stan Brakhage, Rudy Burkhardt and Nathanial Dorsky who for me create worlds of pure phenomena & the challenge I wanted to take on was this idea that an idea of a narrative could be articulated while also using more experimental tropes to articulate the emotional moments with exactly these types of phenomena. The intention of the piece is not to give a definitive answer or give a resolution to the topic. It is an issue far too complex to sum up in a 9 minute film. If anything, I simply wanted to make a piece to instigate a new dialogue about a human experience that many shirk away from.