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netribution > features > interview with liz crow > page two
What is the significance of the corset in the film?
So much of what has been written and presented about Frida is about tragedy and suffering and I wanted to present a very different perspective on her life. She struggled, true, but as an absolute survivor, not a victim.So in the film the corset is both literal and symbolic. It’s literally an assault on her sense of her self, but the corset and the way it’s applied are also symbols of colonisation – one of the major themes of her work – in this case the medical colonisation of the body. The film shows a journey of transformation as she establishes a new sense of self.

Why do you make films?
I love the process of film - the way sounds and images are pieced together to tell a story, how the smallest tweak can completely turn around the meaning of a scene, taking a grain of an idea and making it happen, the immediacy with which it communicates when it really works, the collaborative way of working. The only bit I consistently loathe about the process is grubbing around for funding.

How would you sum up your work to date?
My work is about humanity, putting the record straight, switching perspectives, triggering change. I’m drawn to the potential of film and television for communicating ideas and new ways of thinking and the possibilities they hold for contributing to change. I’m told it’s very naïve to think that film and television really have the power to change – in which case I’ll stay naïve. It’s not that I have an inflated idea of their importance, but I am saddened that television in particular seems to have put aside the sense that its role, or it's responsibility, can be pioneering - Cathy Come Home seems a long time ago. There are social and political issues I’d like to be able to tackle in a contemporary but very direct way. Until I stumble on the commissioning editor who’s brave enough to take the plunge, I'm left trying to invent more devious ways of trying to get the issues across.

What drives you to document people's lives?
artly coincidence – it’s not necessarily what I 'do', but what my last two projects have happened to be. Partly it’s a fascination with these particular women who've led extraordinary lives, though not necessarily the lives that have been set down in history, and a desire to set the record straight. But most of all because the central themes that influenced their lives – discrimination, misrepresentation, censorship - are utterly contemporary. When I’m telling of the 'real' Helen Keller or the 'real' Frida Kahlo what I’m also telling is the 'real' experience of other disabled people today. Ultimately, my work is about changing the way things are.

Are you planning another film at the moment?
lways! I’ve got a couple of documentaries and a drama short in development, pursuing as ever commissions and funding. I vowed that next time I’d do something where I didn’t have to worry about historical accuracy, but the drama seems to have set itself in the 1920!

To contact
Liz Crow about Frida Kahlo's Corset, email her at:
or contact
The Bristol Short Film Festioval - Brief Encounters on 0117 922 4628


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