Sunday, September 18, 2011

Miriam: A Serialized Interview with Brian Pera -- Part Five of Five

Yesterday's winners of the "Miriam" sample and DVD are a.k.a. Warum and Zerami! Get in touch with me at the email address to the left and I'll send them.
(To all commenters: the Grand Prize winner will be announced tomorrow, Monday Sept. 19th, at 9:00a.m. US Eastern Daylight Time.)
“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
For a look at Brian Pera’s short film “Melissa,” which was featured here yesterday, go here.

Question 5:

Have you ever known anyone like Miriam?
Pera: “I'm a lot like Miriam myself.  Because creating a character is a form of impersonation for me, a lot of who I am goes into it.  I try to understand what I would do in the situations that (the) character is in.  I've been frustrated and placed in positions of paranoia like Miriam, and I empathize.  She handles it about how I imagine I would.  She's in a situation where she doesn't know whom to trust and can't evaluate other people's motivations properly, or her own judgment, and she's faced with what for me is the ultimate test of endurance, the gradual loss of a loved one.
Miriam is also me trying to understand, drawing from my own experience, how the women I've admired (particularly my grandmothers) coped with adversity or their ambitions and the people who generated resistance to them.  Miriam is a hard working, driven person who wants to see the good in things rather than focus on the bad.  I appreciate that in people.  
A lot of my experience found its way into all of the Woman's Picture stories we've filmed so far, but nowhere more than MIRIAM, because of all the characters, she was closest to my memories of my grandmothers and the frustrations I felt they faced in life.  Miriam is ambitious and a creative soul, and she doesn't always know what to do with that.
Like her, I try to make something productive out of my frustrations, and sometimes that means living partially in a fantasy world.  You create the world you wish you lived in (for me, that's film; for her, it's a TV show and a TV persona) and you can find pretty quickly that you prefer the fantasy to reality, because in the fantasy you can work things out to your advantage and resolve things which can't be resolved in any other way.  You can imagine that your perceptions of people and their motives are exact rather than ambiguous and opaque.  Most of the people I know are like Miriam in that respect. We all have imaginations and visualize things before we do them.  We want the best for ourselves and to think the best of others.  And fantasy permits that.
I've known many women who, like Miriam, give a lot to a relationship, trying to keep it going, and suffer for it.  They're trying to be the best they can be, even when it goes against self interests.  They lose themselves somewhere in the process.  I watched some of the women in my family do that, sometimes repeatedly.  
I think it's easy to blame women for things.  I wanted to put a character you want to blame in a situation where you gradually see how ridiculous your judgment of her is.  I always disliked the way the men in my family judged women.  I had nowhere to put those feelings, and MIRIAM offered me the opportunity to address them and deal with them constructively, and to bring my grandmothers back in some way.  I felt like they were on the set with me.”

This post concludes the five-day interview serialization. Thanks for reading, everybody!

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.
Andy Tauer has provided a very generous allotment of sample prize packages for the drawing, too. Details appear below.

 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 version 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 is a still from the film, of Ann Magnuson as “Miriam.”


Asali said...

Thank you for the interview, and a great idea splitting up the questions (one each morning before work :-)). I really am so looking forward to sniffing Miriam "the perfume". Thank you for the wonderful draw.

womo531 said...

As a woman I feel connected through these revelations, and it is intereting to see how other people perceive women in a historical and personal context as well. Thanks again for offering us insight into this project !

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say thanks for this serialized interview with Brian Pera and the link to his video interviews with women about their perfume memories. I enjoyed them all, including the one with you.

No need to enter me into the draw as I've been a lucky winner of Miriam elsewhere.

-- Lindaloo

Veta said...

After all this great pieces of work and information about the project, there is only two things I'm afraid of. The disappointment and "I need to buy the full-size bottle of Miriam!" (because Luckyscent doesn't ship to my country)) :)

Irina said...

more and more personal and more and more interesting

Ines said...

I have immense respect for my grandmothers. What I know of their lives makes me think I live an emotionally and existentially sheltered life. For which I am grateful as I'm not sure how strong would I have been in the situations they had to endure.
I would love though to be able to know that being their granddaughter, some of that strength is in me.
I would also love the opportunity to see the film. :)

Susan said...

Thanks again for running this contest and giving us some further insight into Woman's Picture! :)

Sebastiano R said...

These lines are full of feelings of true life. Thanks to Brian and Andy for this great project.

erycina said...

This collaboration between perfume and film has shown that there are still new experiences out there - please enter me into the draw.

a.k.a. Warum said...

Thank you so much, I am excited!
I have emailed you, hope I did everything right and you received my email. Thanks!

zeram1 said...

It's been a great Q&A interview that you have been running for the past several days. Thanks and please enter me in the "grand Prize" draw as well.

Jules said...

Please enter me into the draw ! :o)
~ And thank you once again for the almost week's worth of interesting reading.
I must admit thinking ahead I have been left wondering if during these coming ten years of "Women's Pictures" & their respective scents, weather perhaps a few of them might lean towards a more decidedly "lesbian" or even downright butch/masculine bent ?? (Not that I necessarily believe in "gendered fragrances" as such. Just thinking it could stretch the variety of the scents in interesting directions.)

Sybarite said...

I am so looking forward to sniffing "Miriam" ! So please enter me into the draw.
And to think we have a whole decade of Tauer & Pera to look forward to. It's quite mind boggling !

Ewik said...

after readind the last inteview, i'm even more eager to watch the film - i felt like reading about myself few times:)

Elisa said...

Brian, have you seen Splendor in the Grass? I just watched it a few days ago, and "I think it's easy to blame women for things" reminds me of the world of that movie -- it was made in the early '60s, depicts the late '20s, but the general attitudes toward women aren't that foreign. They can't win, basically.

Jay said...

Thanx for the stretched out interview, made it all the more fun to read. And thanx too for the samples of Miriam. Really looking forward to this. Think the whole "Film/Fragrance" concept an excellent and entertaining idea.

Anonymous said...

I agree, these keep getting more interesting and I keep coming back to re-read (and try again in the draw!).

Isa said...

Thank you for the interview! It's really interesting to learn about a tandem of films/perfumes. I love both arts!
I have been lucky winning a 1ml sample of Miriam in another blog, so please enter me in the draw only for the Grand Prize :)
I have to say that Miriam is a gorgeous fragrance. It starts soapy like some classics and it ends sweet, powdery and woody. Lovely!

I'm looking forward to reading more about the other perfumes in the series.

Bellatrix said...

I am enjoying reading this more than I enjoy eating chocolate and there is nothing as eating chocolate. :)
Thank you for interesting posts.

brian said...

Hey Elisa, I totally agree. And an interesting side note is that the most licentious woman character in Splendor, Beatty's sister, was married to the director, who apparently treated her like a kid sister. She was a fantastic director and actress and directed only one film before dying of breast cancer. Her name was Barbara Loden and the film she made and starred in was called WANDA. It's a slow but incredible film, and showed that Loden was no kid sister but a highly intelligent and soulfully articulate woman who understood people and their attitudes toward women much more than her more celebrated husband. The subtext of WANDA, too, is women can't win, but Loden showed why in a way her husband never did because he couldn't see it.