Category Archives: film theory & discourse

The Elements

Poetry forms “the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action. Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought.” Audre Lorde


Still from the film Suzanne Suzanne directed by Camille Billops


The light in this scene from Suzanne Suzanne!!! The light in this scene is poetic. It speaks! It demonstrates the separation, the distance and later the possibility by the way the light falls on the faces of Suzanne and her mother. In this scene that is like a mother-daughter “come to Jesus” moment the light is a narrator for the emotion, for the energy. It is a moment of transformation that is made possible by the ceremony of sharing this story of Suzanne’s family. The filmmaker Camille Billops’s family.

When I think of the elements of filmmaking, the elements of script writing and the roles in a film crew, I cannot separate them from the elemental forces of nature. Yes, Earth, Wind, Fire, Water, Air – the elements. Fire – the great transformer – is manipulated as light energy in filmmaking. And in When We Free, our film, the river is a character. And I am craving a conversation about the elements of filmmaking and the elements of nature.DSCN5372

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