Sunday 10 July 2011

So Who am I Anyway? (2011)

Director: Lisa Wegner

My favourite No Festival Required screening of the year is always the selection of short films shown at the Phoenix Art Museum. Here's Selection 2011.
While the theme of Selection 2011 turned out to be self, it did so predominantly through factual filmmaking, five of the seven shorts selected this year being documentaries. Of those five, this one was the most obviously oriented around self because the only person we see is director Lisa Wegner, over and over again, in a very personal experiment that aims to capture on film who she really is. Apparently made in response to negative comments people had made about her, she chose to examine the truth behind them and did so by positioning a camera to capture her as she entered or left a room, presumably in her own house. It's an intriguing visual experiment, especially for a visual artist, because of the levels of meaning that it opens up. I was fascinated more by how I reacted to the finished piece than in the conclusions it drew. At the end of the day it was hardly surprising to find that Wegner is everything we see, not just one anything.

What was surprising is how much complexity came out of such a simple setup. Initially she looks into the camera, emotes into it in apparently unscripted ways. We see individual moments, good and bad. She doesn't speak but there's commentary both in the text overlay and in the choice of music that plays in the background, backing up her mood swings amazingly well. We see growth, reinvention and change, yet those were always going to be transient. What fascinated me was the relationship between Wegner, a filmmaker, and her camera. For a while it seems blisteringly honest as she lets the camera peel away the layers that protect her from the world. As it runs on, we wonder how much the camera captures her and how much it shapes her, as well as how she uses it. She's an artist, after all. Do filmmakers need a script to get a point across? It says plenty that I'm still thinking about what these ten rivetting minutes really meant two weeks later.

So Who am I Anyway? can be viewed for free on YouTube.

1 comment:

Lisa Anita Wegner said...

i just found your blog post today... thank you for your kind words. no festival required has been so wonderful and continues to screen my work.