Serious Ladies

Inspired by Jane Bowles' novel "Two Serious Ladies", as well as texts by Virginie Despentes, my work focuses on the following question: What exactly are serious ladies? So as to examine it, I have started developing a screenplay about three women who all combined could become a serious lady. I will play all three roles myself. The women communicate with one another by telephone and interphone. Like in Bowles' work, the dialogues of the film come across almost as monologues. In this sense, all the figures go into and beyond each other and then separate again completely unexpectedly and fiercely. The three serious ladies are fragments or facets of one serious lady who is as emblematic as possible.

In one of the central scenes of the films a serious lady – an actress – goes to a rehearsal. She enters the stage in the Berliner Ensemble – where I myself worked as an actress for some years – and finds herself on the set for Bertold Brecht’s play “The Mother”. I was very much inspired by the original recording of a staging of the play at the Berliner Ensemble in 1958. On several occasions, the character finds herself in a rehearsal situation – Helene Weigel acts as a selection panel and a Brechtian control chorus at once. My aim in studying this found film footage is to find out to what extent it is possible to make Brecht's ideological and aesthetic examination of communism and the role of women seem relevant today. I hope to devise a historical perspective on the seriousness of my ladies.

Serious Ladies will be shot with a Digital Harinezumi, a Japanese toy camera whose image quality is similar to that of Super 8, which has been used by several directors (e.g. Claire Denis, Harmony Korinne und Bruce LaBruce). The intimate way in which I approach Bowles' literary figures will be reflected in the home-movie aesthetics of this miniature hand camera. I will also continue working with hand-written texts that will be spliced in functionally as subtitles and aesthetically as images.

Biography of Susanne Sachsse