When I watched Catherine Grant's “Liquid Perception” and its portrayal of motion, I thought of the way cinema can capture movement. That made me think of Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón, 2013), and of how it introduced a new way to depict movement in film. But other than motion, "Liquid Perception" made me wonder about emotion and the way it is connected to the outside world. In addition to its interesting treatment of L'Atalante (Jean Vigo, 1934), and its depiction of a gallery of exquisite visual motion, the moving images in Grant's work stimulated in me feelings of wonder, sadness, and pleasure. It made me go on a short inner journey, making me progress along it point-by-point with each visual gesture it introduced; and it achieved all of this in under two minutes. “Liquid Perception” made me think of how all movements are interconnected, affected by each other, occurring on different levels and in different places simultaneously.
In this videographic response to Grant’s work I wanted to experiment with the use of dissolve and to explore the dimension of movement it adds to the film. Additionally, I attempted to draw an outline of the emotional movement of Gravity's protagonist, the movement she experiences throughout her journey. The use of dissolves helped me emphasize the heroine's emotional and physical transitions: her hardships, her struggles, her realizations. The editing process was almost instinctive, I let myself flow through the film and mark the sequences that felt most accurate for my work. Through the different rhythms of movement, its twist and its turns, I hope my work may arouse feelings in its viewers, as “Liquid Perception” had done for me, and an inner movement, if only the smallest of movements.
The way movement changes in water has always interested me. Different factors affect the way we perceive movement in water, and the fact that it’s not so clear and smooth as it is on land gives it magical, non-human vibes. Therefore, when I watched Catherine Grant’s video “Liquid Perception,” I had to respond to it with one of my favorite films –The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro, 2017), which connects to the non-human aspect I mentioned.
I thought it would be very interesting to compare this movie, which tells the story of a sea creature who falls in love with a human woman, with what I consider to be a very human movie – The Piano (Jane Campion, 1993), which presents the painful and tragic story of a mute woman who communicates with the world with the help of her piano. Both movies represent water as a getaway, a liminal space in which characters don’t have to speak – only to be present. That representation of water in both movies makes us, the viewers, much more aware of movement in water, and therefore, I thought it would be worth incorporating both in my response to Grant’s video.
During my editing process, when I was trying to find the best images of movement in water from both movies, I realized that normally, when I watch movies, I don’t even look at the way the characters move, and that when I paid attention to this element, I discovered a whole new dimension of relationships between humans, and between humanity and its environment. I think that my video, along with Shira Havron’s video about movement in space, places emphasis on the gentle, fragile ways in which movement can be seen on different material planes, and highlights the way movement can affect how we experience and understand film.
Shira Havron and Ido Harambam are both undergraduate students at the Steve Tisch School of Film and Television, Tel Aviv University, studying in the school’s honors track.