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Cordelia Swann
The voice over in Out West describes how Swann and her father (later to be joined by her grandmother) travelled up to a house in the mountains to help Swann recuperate from tuberculosis, a place made magical through the film-maker's subjective filter.

Moonlight is recalled as a stream of silver dollars, wild horses graze outside the window and the snow covers everything in a white quilt. As the journey down the mountain back east begins, Vegas, in the distance, is mistaken for a planet in the sky.

The film is infused with the same combination of longing, melancholy and wonder which permeates Tall Buildings and Back East, both films set in New York. Back East focuses mainly on the relationship between father and daughter in their neighbourhood in New York's Upper West Side. All the time, both the images and the voice of the narrator persist in relishing the delights to be found in Swann's revisited neighbourhood: the colours and lights of the signs and shopfronts, the kitsch in Woolworth's - including a fake set of Elizabeth Taylor eyebrows - the bunting in the streets, Madonna statuettes, the gaudily decorated cakes in the diner window. Swann revisits childhood to recreate and share memories that are literally both light and dark.

In Tall Buildings Swann's majestic images of New York's archetypal tall buildings in this eponymous short film are infused with a soundtrack telling of an overbearing narrative which rewrites the city; of the trauma of violence and death. The ostensibly familiar and mediated iconography of this great metropolis is recoloured by the witnessing of a violent incident and the indelible psychological mark left by the suicide of a loved one. The urban landscape becomes a stage for the re-enactment of memory - every building, and every picture of one, has many stories to tell.

Still from Outwest by Cordelia Swann, 1992
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