Because Goddess is Never Enough by Rosie Garland

Because Goddess is Never Enough draws its inspiration from the life of Austrian-born dancer, choreographer, actor and painter, Tilly Losch (1903-1975). The film is a collaboration between film-maker Jane Glennie and writer/performer Rosie Garland, both award-winning artists in the UK. The subject is the representation of women artists in history, especially the ways their stories have been footnoted in relation to famous men. One of the film’s lines about Tilly’s place in history: “blink and you’ll miss her”.

From the web page for the film:

Tilly Losch was an Austrian dancer who worked with prominent, and cutting-edge, choreographers and artists in the UK and the US, from the West End to Hollywood. She was also a choreographer in her own right, who later turned to painting.

Through moving images and poetry Glennie and Garland investigate the elusive and fragmentary nature of Tilly’s life, evoking the spirit of the 1920s–40s when she was at the peak of her fame.

The film is about self-worth, the authentic self, and the credibility of creative women – Losch was someone who was at times exploited yet determined to maintain a path of her own making despite the obstacles that were very much present in her era… highlighting how far women have come in 90 years, and yet how far they still have to go to get recognition and true independence.

Jane Glennie’s film-making most often involves rapid animation of still images, creating a highly dynamic sense of cinematic motion. At ten minutes duration, this is her most ambitious film to date, involving thousands of her own photographs, meticulously layered with contrasting rhythms that underscore voice and text.

Rosie Garland’s expressive narration of her own poem is highly effective. Her voice alternates with that of Alison Glennie, equally as effective in the first-person sections that evoke Tilly speaking for herself. The overall soundtrack is mainly just the two voices accompanied by textural sound effects. This minimal approach proves an excellent stylistic choice.

All the different elements of the film combine organically and assuredly, suggesting a great collaboration between the artists involved. Because Goddess is Never Enough is a unique evocation of one woman’s creative life and by extension the lives of so many creative women throughout time.

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    […] Sometimes the poet might be the filmmaker themselves. There are lots of examples to explore on Moving Poems – search ‘author-made videopoems‘ and you will find Valerie LeBlanc and Daniel Dugas, Jessie Jing, Marc Neys, Matt Mullins, Janet Lees and many more. Early on, I decided I would try to make a film from my own writing, and though the result is similar to my other work in its technique and imagery, I know that my approach to the visual ideas in this film felt very different because as I wrote the words I had images in my mind.nnI have made work collaboratively with writers. I’ve discussed the ideas for a film with a writer who went away and wrote a poem, recorded the voice and then I made my film. I’ve discussed ideas for a film with Lucy English for her Book of Hours project, then wrote a short second voice response to her poem (Glitter – December evening in the Book of Hours), so the writing became a joint poem, and then I made the film. I collaborated even more deeply with Rosie Garland for Because Goddess is Never Enough. […]

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