Part of Spring 1992
While many filmmakers and artists have remarked that making art is cheaper and more interesting than therapy, Anne Charlotte Robertson has taken this to heart and openly uses film as a cathartic tool. Robertson’s fiercely autobiographical film work is totally unique in her creation of a genre which not only documents virtually every aspect of her daily life, but places her own psychic healing as the central object/subject of each work. Robertson also opens new, uncharted territory in the discourse around the construction of ‘psychiatric illness’. Her Diary frenetically chronicles in forty plus hours Robertson’s life since 1981, including her manic depressive periods in the early 80s. This prolific filmmaker uses her everpresent super-8 sound camera, a direct delivery, the layering of internal and external voices and a curt editing style to reveal her controlled emotionally raw aesthetic. Robertson will be present during the Diary excerpt. Film Beauty Saving Me represents the first time that Robertson’s films have been exhibited in Canada. “As a performer, she is generous and engaging, walking a tantalizing line between being in and out of control”. (D. Schwartz)
Spirit of ’76 10 min, 1976.
During the USA’s bicentennial, Robertson decides to become a filmmaker and her own self portrait is woven into the ‘celebration’.
Suicide 8 min, 1979
In Suicide, Robertson confronts the conflicting desire for self-annihilation with the need to control her suicidal tendencies. “I made a film about suicide illustrating some of the ways I though I’d kill myself, and literally edited it in about an hour and a half and screened it, and as I watched the film, the suicide voices stopped in my head and they haven’t come back since”.
Locomotion 7 min, 1981.
Robertson exhibits rage at the psychiatric establishment during a performance. “It shows me against a wall, screaming and exhibiting the side effects of medication I had observed in the hospitals”.
Apologies 17 min, 1990.
Apologies is the epitome of Robertson’s cathartic films in which she apologizes for everything under the sun, taking us through self-effacement into absurdity. She is direct and deadpan, prescribing through example a more personal form of therapy: filmmaking.
Only recently has Robertson begun showing her Diary in shorter excerpts; fortunately the principal elements of her aesthetic remain intact. The layering of soundtracks and live commentary over the original sound on film function as markers of memory, a layering of histories. Her own live voice-over takes us through the images of her past as if we were in a living room watching her home movies, and indeed we are (albeit, at the Euclid). Only these are not the cheerful banalities of birth, graduation and marriage, but the tireless days of flux and desire.
Note: This screening was cancelled.