videoSally Potter 'Black Mascara' by Sally Potter
Sally Potter, one of the UK's most cherished filmmakers, has now made a detour into music, recording her debut studio album called Pink Bikini, to be released on July 14th. And Potter has also directed the music video for the first track released from the album, Black Mascara - featuring the director now, and playing her younger self.The album is described as a semi-autobiographical collection of songs, about growing up female in London in the 1960s. Potter - the director of acclaimed movies such as Orlando and Ginger & Rosa - captures the era with a single set-up in the Black Mascara video: Potter spinning a hula-hoop, facing the old brick wall of a railway arch, joined by two acrobats - adding a touch of Fellini-esque whimsy to the grim, gritty postwar aesthetic - and a second Potter, talking to her 'teenage' self. Potter also appears as the narrator of the song's tale of teenage rebellion and naivety, overlaid across this evocative set-up. And she comments that the making of the video also took her back to her earliest days as a filmmaker.The need to invent and imagine things out of nothing became part of a philosophy that I later named ‘barefoot filmmaking’. "Black Mascara was one of the earliest tracks I wrote for Pink Bikini, an album of songs based on a look back over my shoulder to the despairs and longings of my turbulent teenage years; a time of change: the end of childhood, the beginning of life as an adult."Making the video was a different kind of return. It needed to be made in the way I made films when I first started out as a teenager. Back then I had no money, training or equipment. The need to invent and imagine things out of nothing became part of a philosophy that I later named ‘barefoot filmmaking’. It meant working with minimal means, borrowing gear and working with the goodwill and energy of a few beloved friends and co-conspirators. Under those circumstances, the propelling idea was everything."For the video I split myself into three; a narrator who looked out at the viewer through the lens; a second self, singing to another self who – for no apparent reason – is facing a wall whilst spinning a hula hoop around her waist. Circles within circles."I filmed myself singing to camera, using my iPhone, against a homemade blue screen. Then I searched for a location in which it might be possible to shoot at night without any additional light. I found a murky archway under a railway, the stained brickwork probably unchanged since my teenage years. And finally, some acrobats, echoing the circular nature of it all – spinning, flipping, then as now."The great Robbie Ryan stepped in to shoot, a skeleton Adventure Pictures team with a tiny crew of recent NFTS graduates generously did everything else on the night and the spirit of the shoot was joyfully consistent with Barefoot filmmaking and a feeling of beginning."