The Art of Catching
4:3, Color 16mm to Video & Archival film to Video, 2011, 35 min.
Produced with a grant from the Princess Grace Foundation.
"Memory, geography, science and mythology nourish the mystery and charm of a film that chooses not to stick to just one strategy, but to multiply its plots as its characters, its sources as its materials. The look on the contemporary reality of specific place, Florida's marshlands, alternates with visions of its past emerging from carefully researched archival footage, putting the whole work in an historical perspective which, along with the precision of the text written on screen and spoken off, are rare and therefore valuable elements in contemporary experimental cinema." --Sergio Fant, who awarded The Art of Catching the Grand Prix at the 25 FPS Experimental Film and Video Festival
"Floridas impoverished marshlands with their animal kingdom of tortoises, flamingoes, crocodiles and a fabled species of monkey are the setting for two parallel stories, which are subtly woven together across ages and narrative voices. Death is apparently the only permanent figure in Jessica Bardsleys fabulating and partly autobiographical Southern Gothic story, whose wild narrative threads emanate from a real historic and geographical reality, but continues as an imaginary febrile dream, where a mysterious 'Bird Woman' joins a photographer on an anthropological expedition into the damp depths of the marshlands. The whole thing starts on a veranda with the grandmother, who finds a box with old photographs with unknown faces, and leads up to an alarming realisation: 'It must be true that we invented anthropology to house our details. And details make not knowing feel more comfortable.' Bardsley illustrates the two threads of the story with respectively old black-and-white footage of life in the marshlands where a small worker family lives off collecting mussels, and more recent 16mm colour footage. The aim is not to have the two ages contrast each other, but to remind us where myths come from. " --CPH:DOX