This multimedia feature mixes film, animation, puppetry, home video, Japanese carpentry, book reviews, and more to explore loves both lost and could-be. Along the way, it seriously messes with linear storytelling, turns honest self-analysis into public display, and sets a new bar for what the next generation of “art” films might be.
Director Terence Nance recently answered some questions via email, while attending a film festival in Rotterdam.
This is probably one of the more multimedia feature films I’ve ever seen. How did you put it together, and what cinematic inspiration is out there for this sort of thing?
I put it together very slowly. I was following the inspiration of an experience of being in love with the people in the film, so the myriad of emotions inspired the different uses of media. I think a big inspiration for me was the Five Obstructions by Lars Von Trier where he forces Jorgen Leuth to make the same movie 5 times.
Is this entirely factual, or are there elements of fiction?
It’s factual to the extent that my memory is factual, or anyone’s memory is factual. So it aims at facts, but unfortunately all memories are fallible.
You mess with linear storytelling. How did you plan that out and execute such a style?
I was trying to accurately depict what it’s like to remember an emotionally tumultuous relationship. I think when I try and remember and retell the story of the relationship my perception of time inside the memory is non-linear, disjointed, and incomplete so the structure of the film mirrors that.
Do you see an increasing market for this kind of work, perhaps in galleries?
I wasn’t thinking about the market necessarily when making it, but I think it is a film to be experienced in a theater. I think a gallery would be cool as well as long as they required the audience to arrive at a certain time. But to my knowledge the audience for galleries is going through the same things that the audience for music and films is going through. I think, however, that it could be cool to see this film episodically as well.
Did it work? Which is to say, have you remained friends or gotten any deeper with the central woman?
It worked to the extent explained in the film, which I guess is that it both worked and did not work.
What’s next for you?
A new narrative feature entitled The Lobbyists that is very different than what I did with An Oversimplification…
An Oversimplification of Her Beauty has no more screenings planned for SBIFF 2012.