A Film Practice Experimental Film “Memories Of Shiqi” (2021)

Memories Of Shiqi

This was my first experimental film.

What was my aim for this film? I needed a film that explored some of the concepts from my research into memory conceptualisation in film and cinema memories. After some research I identified that making an experimental film would be the perfect option, remember this was made during the epidemic and under severe restrictions. Limited crew and outside locations only.

It was heavily influenced by the experimental films and works of Maya Deren, this influence extended to my decision to shoot the film on celluloid (Super 8). While not a copy of Meshes of the Afternoon (1943) there are many similarities for example each scene is a metaphor a surreal and dreamlike exploration of the subconscious. There is the symbolism, exploring themes of identity and human experience. Add to this a fragmented visual history of the past interspersed with a timeline broken up with montage sequences exploring a life lived on two continents and two cultures. Metaphors for example, the loneliness of playing tennis against a wall, being trapped behind bars, and of course Death.

I was also influenced by the works of Stan Brakhage. Stan Brakhage is an experimental filmmaker renowned for his unique and abstract visual style. He often worked without a camera, directly painting, or scratching on film stock. His approach is marked by a rejection of traditional narrative and a focus on the materiality of film. Brakhage’s theories, expressed in his writings and interviews, emphasize the importance of visual perception and the power of the image to evoke emotions and feelings. I knew from experimenting with film that the results may be distorted or beyond my control. This uncertainty began from the outset of filming using old film stock and cameras barely working. The film processing added to this as the colours and textures were distorted a false colour that proved that what you see/film is not what you get a non-authentic visual a distorted reality.

The second half of my experimental film explores this distorted reality further introducing new characters “The Creepy Girls” who appear in different locations interacting with the camera in a similar fashion. Exploring gender and identity the subjects interact with the camera directly, the camera becomes a fourth member through its point of view. There are overlays of multiple locations where the creepy girls now appear to float in this surreal world, moving through space and time and interacting with the camera.

This relationship with the camera introduces a structuralist element to the film, the audience is now aware of the camera the qualities of using film, This is now more evident as a medium, the materiality of film, and its ability to manipulate time, space, and audience perception.

Although there is no narrative I added to the titles a date and “This is a True Story” I meant this to add some appearance of control over the audience’s perspective. Is this film about Shiqi’s death? I even added what appears to a be death scene. At the time this seemed appropriate with so many losing their lives to the epidemic, but did she die?

Experimental Film Practice – Memories Of Shiqi et al