Third Sunday Films is a collaborative fine arts venture between Zimbo Films’ Robert Curry and artists Holly Smith and Charlette Hove. The work of Third Sunday Films is primarily concerned with multi-media installations that function as investigations into the myths and folklore surrounding archetypal female characters in our contemporary society as well as being reflexive of the medium in which these investigations are undertaken. By employing a myriad of filmic tactics, these films aspire to correlate the function of the cinematographic langue with the common signifiers of our popular culture.
OPHELIA:2012 is a sensory meditation on the congruencey of Ophelia’s “demise” and the spirit of unease concerning today’s girls and women. There is an expectation of Ophelia to be forever perfect, a unattainable concept without the control of her body nor the natural impulses she has been taught to believe are sought after in theory, but not in fact. As a young woman who is beautiful and pure, Ophelia is “ruined” when her innocence, selfless love and most of all virginity are compromised reduced to a symbol of sensual madness and virginal weakness. Shakespeare hints at disappointments in love, sex and motherhood as the reason for Ophelia’s madness-(unlike Hamlet’s intellectual and egotistical melancholy). Her pureness of beauty, spirit and intellect are not her downfall, but the fact that these attributes are taken for granted or rejected as sin by those around her, rather than exalted as the gift of beauty and nature which they are.
Frozen in time as beauty overcome, and suspended forever in a chaotic state of mind, Ophelia attains the romantic archetype of a perfectly unruly and beautiful specimen of female weakness. But what if Ophelia was aware of all of this? What if she saw herself as not succumbing to her ruin but ascending into nature and heavenly beauty?
Her freedom in dress and speech would be considered unruly sexual and deviant behavior, but Ophelia refuses to bind her hair when “there is such disorder in her wit”. She acknowledges her madness through song and riddle, symbolically deflowering herself in a performative act to the court. Representations of female madness overlap with representations of female sexual “lure” and the disconnect in acceptance is lost on Ophelia. Her “doubtful” drowning is perceived as an end, a suicide brought on by heartbreak and despair. Could Ophelia have cherished her final dance through the woods as a freeing initiation back to the earth and love from a cold political and spiteful world of expectation and deceit?
The Ophelia: 2012 piece is composed of three separate videos, each drawing from the same footage. The intent is to compel the viewer in to reassessing the “cinematographic langue”, to disassociate the parts of the whole to be perceived as individual signifiers. To do this, each video addresses a convention of traditional filmmaking. Ophelia: 2012 Part 1 is a long take, that when looped becomes an artificial manifestation of the human experience of duration. But, by being looped, repeats the action within frame indefinitely. The effect on the spectator becomes habitual, and further simulates themes in the writing of Henri Bergson on the “motor mechanism”. Ophelia: 2012 Part 2 addresses not just the linear aspects of film and its relation to time, but to the very structure of film itself. Every take from every angle that is employed in Ophelia: 2012 Part 3 is laid bare in its entirety. The viewer, when watching Ophelia: 2012 Part 2, is confronted with the building blocks of a more traditional film, and is forced to consider each of these units on their own without a broader context one associates with narrative filmmaking. Ophelia: 2012 Part 3 is a brisk and symbolic account of Ophelia’s psychological deterioration. Ophelia: 2012 Part 3 is more traditional, presenting the units in Ophelia: 2012 Part 2 within a broader concept and context, where each unit is part of a realized whole, and therefore manifests the cinematographic langue.
The task of dissociating the viewer from the conventions of the film medium seems essential to creating an accurate representation of Ophelia’s own disassociated perceptions. The piece becomes simultaneously reflexive and subjective, allowing both strategies to feed into one another and present the viewer with more than a critical assessment of the film medium.