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2001 - A Family Odyssey; Ophelia's Version

Sarah Miles
2002
50 mins Black and White/ Colour Digibeta

2001 - A Family Odyssey; Ophelia's Version

Sarah Miles' 2001 - A Family Odyssey: Ophelia's Version is a poetic elliptical film exploring the hidden systemic powers of identification within a family constellation through four generations.

Distant but familiar ancestors haunt the landscape like screen memories and family members collaborate to perform representations of themselves. A collage of family album; the filmmaker's father's photographic archive, rushes of his unfinished film The Host; 16mm portraits, music, voiceover and film clips including Apocalypse Now, Badlands, Belle De Jour and Breakfast at Tiffany's reflect a complex layering of narratives.

Miles plays Shakespeare's Ophelia as a bunny girl in violet searching for material amidst a powerful dreamlike stream of drowned family stories and screen Ophelia's, Marianne Faithfull segues into Catherine Deneuve into Marilyn Monroe. Representing Ophelia evolves into an investigation of the limits of memory, the nature of storytelling, the boundaries of art and the imagination itself. Past present and future mix generating new meanings. Through this process of constellation hidden forces are unveiled by Ophelia's jaunt through familial image-repertoire.
Film Forum Los Angeles 2002

I asked my family how they would like to be represented in a film about the family. My sister wanted to be Dennis Hopper in Apocalypse Now 'What are they gonna say about him?" My Father gave me the rushes of his unfinished film the Host about a spaceman being devoured by alien forces. My Mother wanted to be a beautiful young woman like Holly Golightly; I played Ophelia as a bunny girl making psychotic and delicate garlands and my son a DJ mixing it all. SM.

Editor: James Whitehorn
Camera: Sarah Miles, NRG Smith
Stills: John Miles
Commission: ACE (VET bursary)

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