Experimental Narrative 263mc – Your Body Is Not A Prison

I had quite a few ideas for my final experimental piece. First I was considering exploring a more spiritual/soulful theme, as I was inspired by a poem by writer Kiran Kaur from Canada. I had the idea of using this poem as a narration, along with an instrumental piece of music called ‘Rain’ by Naam Kaur as the audio for the video. While I really liked the thought of doing this video, I felt like I was too much in my comfort zone and that I wanted to challenge peoples perceptions of something or reveal a truth. When this module first began, I spoke about how I wanted to create something that explores truth, and tell a story that maybe people are too scared to tell.

I then began reading poetess Rupi Kaur’s work. She recently published a book titled ‘Milk and Honey’, and regularly posts her writings on her website/blog and social media. I sat and read through much of her work and also watched/listened to her spoken word videos. I felt like this touched me deeper and encouraged me to also speak out about issues within society today, that maybe people push aside or ignore. A lot of Rupi’s work could be considered to be feminist, and I liked that she stood up for those who have maybe been abused or hurt, and she draws out emotions within us via her poems.

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I wanted to explore the idea of a woman being herself, and how nobody should be allowed to take control of her, to use her, to stop off at her body like a hotel. She is not just a one time thing, she deserves respect and shouldn’t be assumed to be up for anything. She has her right to decisions, she is never asking for it, and she is strong yet vulnerable. I wanted to tell the story of a woman who is battling with emotions, fears, doubts, confusion, happiness, and reflect ideas of abuse in an emotional yet different way.

I considered using one of Rupi’s poems as a narration to my video, but then once I put my video together I felt that it would be best without it, to avoid it becoming to cliche and traditional. I wanted the visuals to speak for themselves, telling the woman’s story through the acting. I worked together with actress Kate Phillips to create an experimental approach to telling an abuse story. We discussed at length our thoughts and feelings on how women are perceived, women abuse, rape, and how even now in the 21st Century it can be considered a taboo subject. We discussed 50 Shades Of Grey and how it can seem okay for women to be treated in abusive contexts. While some may say it is just a story and people know right from wrong, they don’t always. People could take inspiration from this and re-enact things in wrong situations and with the wrong mindset.

We used the poems as inspiration and played off certain elements and feelings within Rupi’s work, along with inspiration from the new HeForShe charity and Emma Watson, wanting to show a strong side to women also. Another inspiration for the video and acting was from the play 4:48 Psychosis by Sarah Kane. Myself and Kate had both studied this play deeply and performed it. In the play, the main subject had many different emotional states, and I decided that I wanted to incorporate elements of the different emotions a woman may go through when in such a situation.

I also was inspired by another poem I read by Warsan Shire, for which I created a short video.

Warsan Shire – The House

Mother says there are locked rooms inside all women,
kitchen of lust, bedroom of grief, bathroom of apathy.
Sometimes the men they come with keys,
and sometimes the men they come with hammers.

Sometimes they come with hammers

For my final video I spent some time in the studio with my actress Kate, and we filmed many different scenes. We discussed before-hand the theme and what we wanted to create, and we free-styled acting from there. Kate used eye contact in the video to try to draw in the viewer and to create personal immediacy, with the hopes of connecting with the audience and create an emotional response within them. I decided to focus on her emotional states and attempted to tell a womans abusive relationship story and how it has affected her.

Your Body Is Not A Prison

‘Your Body Is Not A Prison’ is an experimental narrative of the emotions a woman goes through during an abusive relationship. It attempts to depict the variety of feelings and situations she experiences in the relationship, showing the happiness, pain, abuse inflicted upon her, and also the courage she has through and after this. It is an attempt to show vulnerability and strength, and show a truth that perhaps people brush under the carpet or ignore. Woman abuse is real and occurs very often, and also in relationships. This short experimental movie is an insight into this issue, and tries to show the various states of her relationship and emotions visually without a specific verbal narrative.

Inspiration for this video – Rupi Kaur – Poetess & Spoken Word Performer – rupikaur.com/
Music – Jon Gomm – Passionflower – jongomm.com/

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