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Updated: Jul 9, 2023

A film about drowning in a dress...

I first thought of filming 'Clean' while taking a bath in my aunt's tub. She lives in a farm house in Newfoundland and the tub is a huge egg shaped thing deep enough to let me almost float. I was drifting in heaps of bubbles and looking at a bar of soap, a fancy one on a fancy soap dish - neither of which were intended to be used. Both soap and dish were made to look like they were covered in roses. The soap was pale cream, delicately scented.

I noticed it was the same colour as a slip I bought from an antique store a few months before, ivory trimmed in lace. I thought of the slip in the water and in that moment the visual seemed charged and invigorating. With the image of the slip in soapy water, I knew exactly how it would feel to put it on while soaking wet, how it would look beautiful and transparent but also be freezing and clinging, uncomfortable. I know how difficult it would be to put on. I stole the bar of soap from my aunt's bathroom and carried it home to where it sat in my underwear drawer for two and a half years waiting.

I filmed 'Clean' in one afternoon with Jordan (Pale Crow Films). Working carefully and tenderly, we took our time and the result is beautiful - simple and sparse. A short film stripped bare and a little strange. 'Clean' has a dreamy mood but is also focused, slow and sparse; made as much by what is missing: not a lot of shots, not a lot of detail - as what is there: a few props and natural light. It is a film of suggestions, happening mostly in the imagination.

The whole idea is wrapped up in absence and abundance, a narrow overflow. the singular focus of imagination. Obsession. It is hard to let someone waterboard you and not spend at least a little bit of that day wondering about your motivations. Together we captured a particular bandwidth of emotion, of light and colour and mood. I am so pleased with what we discovered; the emptiness, the light and texture, the trust and small moments. We created something with a kind of bleak rich beauty, but I still don't really know what any of it means - why I was so drawn to the soaking dress and the bar of soap, the hair in the water, the gasping breath? I have no idea, but I love the result anyway.


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