“For me, serialization means a story keeps on deepening and expanding over time.” -- Brian Pera, Writer and Director
“Woman’s Picture,” the film, is a beginning. Filmmaker Brian Pera plans to continue exploring these characters in an open-ended series of short, web-based films over the next ten years or so.
The segments, while at first view may seem unrelated as stories, do relate on “subterranean levels of mood and theme,” according to Pera. This is a process he likens to perfumes from a long established house like Chanel. Compare two of them, and the differences are obvious. But, when looking at the line through time, the differences become more muted, while the parallels become more apparent, and more complex.
Visit the other participating blogs for different angles. They’re listed at the end of this (and subsequent) posts. And stop by Evelyn Avenue for all sorts of interesting stuff. “Miriam,” which is to be released in early October, will be sold there, and through Lucky Scent.
Andy Tauer has provided a very generous allotment of sample prize packages for the drawing, too. Details appear at the end of this post.
Pera has also done a fascinating series of short films in which women talk about their memories of perfumes, loved ones and the links between them. Here is one of them:
"She was a very clean woman": Melissa from brian pera on Vimeo.
It seemed appropriate to serialize this interview, which was conducted online, as well. So it is appearing over a five day period.
You have said “to me, ‘Miriam Masterson’ is a role Miriam plays, based on childhood memories of her mother’s public mask.” In trying to identify her mother’s old perfume, is Miriam showing us her fear of being unmasked?
Pera: "I think Miriam is terrified of losing her mother. Like everyone she has a terror of unfinished business. She has an active fantasy life, and her mother, or her idealized version of her mother, is a big part of that fantasy life. I think for a long time Miriam has been able to enjoy a certain level of denial about her mother's mortality. Her mother has been so alive and so fixed to her within her TV fantasy space, within her imagination. When her mother becomes ill I imagine it's just a rising awareness for Miriam that her mother is "slipping", and I think she knows that the fantasy version of her mother can only exist and flourish in any useful way while her mother is still alive to contrast against it. That uncertainty and transitoriness calls everything into question for her, and nothing seems stable or secure, including her conception of herself.
So in a way, yes, I think you're right. Miriam's afraid of the reality underneath the fantasy, which is that people are imperfect and mortal, secretly incomplete, and that they don't just live but die that way, taking their secrets with them. They leave mystery behind. While Miriam respects the mystery of her mother, she's terrified of being left without answers and having to trust her own judgment. She'll never truly know who her mother was - only who she wanted to think she was. All of her memories have been so influenced by fantasy that she can't properly parse through them. Her mother is everything to her, even though they've had a troubled relationship, a very complicated one. The whole thing about her obsession with her mother's perfume comes straight from my life. I had a tiny bottle of perfume my grandmother left in her medicine cabinet - the only fragrance she owned. I took it when she died. And it was a big part of me. Somewhere in my mind, that perfume was her. And when it broke, and ran down the drain, it was like another death, as crazy as that sounds. I still haven’t gotten over it.
Like Miriam, I never knew the name of the perfume. So I only have the memory of that scent now, which is practically nothing. And it fades a little each year, the way memories of people do."
Visit the other participating blogs for more exploration of “Woman’s Picture,” reviews and short films in which women talk about their memories of perfumes. Links appear at the end of this post.
The drawing: Each day, I’ll pick two winners at random from that day’s comments, who will each win a package from Tauer Perfumes. This includes a sample of the fragrance “Miriam” and a DVD of the “Miriam” short film, which opens in October. I’ll announce the names of the previous day’s winners with each day’s post.
Previous winners of the “Miriam” package won’t be eligible to win again until the drawing for the Grand Prize, a purse-sized sprayer of “Miriam,” which all commenters are eligible to win. That random drawing will be held at the end of the five-day series, and announced at 9:00 a.m. US Eastern Daylight Time, Monday, Sept. 19th.
All winners must contact me with postal details at the email listed to the left, by midnight US Eastern Daylight Time, Friday, Sept. 30th. Otherwise, I’ll do a random drawing to select alternates.
Other participating blogs are:
The photo, a still from the film, is of Ann Magnuson as "Miriam."