Awarded 3rd place for the Paddon Award at the University of Exeter 18th March 2015

Notes on Cosmia

“About 25% of LGBT people suffer through violent or threatening relationships with partners or ex-partners which is about the same rates as in as domestic abuse against heterosexual women”.
I did not make this film with either the LGBT people or heterosexual women in mind. It was made from the perspective that this happens and is purposefully produced to be ambiguous as to who the perpetrator is. It is narrowed to some possibilities though, and that is heterosexual men, lesbian, bisexual (woman/man) or transsexual. It brings attention to what is happening within personal lives and how the character uses the tool of cosmetics to cover this up. This is important here as ‘covering up’ has many strands.
End the fear states on their website linked above,
“It can be hard for LGBT domestic violence victims to seek help because they may not want to disclose their sexuality to police or other organisations. Because of the general homophobia and transphobia in modern societies, LGBT victims of partner violence may be concerned about giving gay and lesbian relationships a ‘bad name’ and may refuse to speak up about the abuse they’re suffering” Likewise, it would also be hard for heterosexual woman to disclose this abuse/violence because they may be also outed as “She may feel ashamed about what has happened or believe that it is her fault” or “She may be isolated from family or friends or be prevented from leaving the home or reaching out for help”. Covering up then, on the external, in order to continue everyday life, is merely scratching surface of what each individual will have to cover up on the inside.
I have used various tools/objects within the film to reflect the interiority of the character which helps to support/reveal the narrative further. The use of mirrors for instance is used from the Deleuzian hypotheses (Gilles Deleuze (1925–1995), French philosopher), the time image. The time image is a representation of the actual and the virtual. For example, if I am holding a cup of coffee in my hand it is the actual, but if I am thinking about a past or future cup of coffee it is the virtual. Using the mirror on two occasions within the film is a representation of what the character is actually doing and the possibilities of what she is thinking. What she is thinking about is up for interpretation. The Deleuzian crystal image is also present in the narrative albeit abstract. A crystal as we know has many sides and reflections. The crystal can hold the space in the environment (the metaphorical crystal) and reflect back to us the multiplicity of life, mirroring our actions and processes. The character with or without the mirror holds this space for us all. She is the elephant in the room. According to Women’s Aid UK, “on average, two women a week are killed by a violent partner or ex-partner. This constitutes nearly 40% of all female homicide victims”. (Povey, (ed.), 2005; Home Office, 1999; Department of Health, 2005.)
The hotel room would be an allegory for something is broken, for example, the spousal home has being disrupted. It is symbolic of a transit to something other than. She is alone though, which would be a particularly stressful time for her. This is emphasised at the end with the stairs and this is an allusion to Film Noir and how the stairs are used as a liminal space (a space of in-between-ness) but also as a place of community communication. The stairs are empty of community though and again an allegory to the aloneness.
The scene where she lies on the bed on her side is an allusion to the opening scene of Lost in Translation when Scarlet Johansson is lying on the bed in her underwear. The critical theory (Laura Mulvey’s hypotheses) on this scene is that Sofia Coppola was disrupting the male gaze due to the length of the shot. It is possible here, that the male and female gaze become subjectified as opposed to the erotic objectification we are possibly familiar with.
The music, This Bitter Earth/ On The Nature of Daylight by Dinah Washington and Max Richter is a protagonist on its own. The music reflects the position that the character is in, one that this earth is indeed bitter. However, Dinah Washington redeems the earth in the lyrics, and maybe also for the character, when she says,
“But while a voice
Within me cries
I'm sure someone
may answer my call
And this bitter earth ooooooh
May not be ohhhh, so bitter after all”

It reflects the survival aspect of our humanness and I will end this with a Haiku which also echoes this human need:

Dropping stone after stone
into the lake – I keep

  • Clifford Roddy
  • Clifford Roddy
  • Clifford Roddy
  • Lia Love
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Runtime:
    5 minutes 49 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    February 16, 2015
  • Production Budget:
    0 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director - Clifford Roddy