Three films by American filmmaker and actress Sheila McLaughlin stand for a trend in experimental film that took place in the 70s and 80s, moving it away from a radically material-based, self reflexive aesthetic towards the narrative forms of independent film, within which new forms of cinematic representation and documentation could be developed.
Over three silent sequences, the short film INSIDE OUT shows moments of sustained, internal tension just before an emotional outburst on the part of the protagonists. The internal bursts out of these portraits like the filling of a broken Piñata doll.
The film COMMITTED, which Sheila McLaughlin realized together with Lynne Tillman, is not a biography of actress Frances Farmer but rather a fictional analysis of the same. It deals with the disturbed relationship between Farmer and her mother, the sociopolitical climate in the USA of the 30s and 40s, the role of psychiatry as an increasingly powerful determinant in this period and the destructive love story between a woman (actress) and a man (director). COMMITTED is conducted as a Film noir and a period piece – the latter of which is unusual for an independent film.
SHE MUST BE SEEING THINGS weaves together a director’s efforts at adapting a novel by Thomas de Quincey for the screen and her conflict-filled relationship with her lover, which feeds off jealously and is hung up on day dreams and revenge fantasies.
- INSIDE OUT, Sheila McLaughlin, USA 1976/78, 16mm, 25 min
- COMMITTED, Sheila McLaughlin & Lynne Tillman, USA 1980–84, 16mm, 77 min
- SHE MUST BE SEEING THINGS, Sheila McLaughlin, USA/West Germany 1987, 16mm, 92 min
Bonus material Video interview with Sheila McLaughlin, 32 pages booklet