Sally Potter is a staple of British cinema. Since the age of 14, she has been making her personal films. Later, beginning professionally in 1969, Potter made a sequence of brief movies akin to Hors d’oeuvres, The Gold Diggers, and The London Story. Her feature-length debut Orlando was a groundbreaking moment within the realms of literary diversifications and queer cinema. Potter reworked Virginia Woolf’s sprawling supply textual content spanning centuries into a sublime and wealthy movie of solely 94 minutes. This cemented her basis as a daring, risk-taking filmmaker, and paved the way in which for her to proceed creating distinctive and thrilling indie films all through her profession.
Other films from Potter embrace Yes, The Man Who Cried, and Ginger and Rosa. She has labored with main names akin to Christina Ricci, Cate Blanchett, Judi Dench, Riz Ahmed, Timothy Spall, and Kristin Scott Thomas. Outside of cinema, Potter directed opera for the ENO in 2007. Writing for The Guardian about her expertise directing an opera, she acknowledged that “despite the multiple challenges of moving from film to opera,” a part of her felt “at home.” With Academy Awards and different accolades below her arms, her expertise is obvious. But which of her films are her greatest work?
8/8 The Man Who Cried (2000)
Coming in finally place, we’ve got a uncommon miss from Potter, The Man Who Cried. The film follows the story of a person who leaves his daughter, played by Christina Ricci, behind in Russia in quest of a greater life in America. The daughter is then adopted by an English household who increase her with little information of her true father. As an grownup, she longs to search out her father in America, however falls for a person whereas in Paris within the midst of the rise of the Nazis. Unfortunately, the symbolism is overwrought and there are a sequence of confused, unfocused performances.
7/8 The Roads Not Taken (2020)
20 years later, we’ve got our subsequent entry, The Roads Not Taken. This encompasses a father and daughter duo, played by Javier Bardem and Elle Fanning, as the daddy’s well being quickly declines over at some point. As his thoughts begins to slide, we see snippets of different lives he might have had interwoven with the current day. It’s a film stuffed with sturdy performing performances that may’t fairly make up for the truth that the story is considerably directionless. There remains to be a variety of emotion to get pleasure from right here, however its general high quality is lower than par with the remainder of Potter’s work.
6/8 The Tango Lesson (1997)
Potter’s second characteristic movie, The Tango Lesson, is exclusive in her filmography as a result of she herself is within the starring position. She performs a filmmaker who discovers a love for the tango. Conversely, her tango teacher has the need to behave and turn out to be a Hollywood star. There is an attention-grabbing dialogue of gender and energy dynamics woven all through the film by way of the thought of main and following in dance. Potter putting herself on the middle of the movie introduces additional layers to this dialog as she has authorial management over the narrative and the way it’s portrayed.
5/8 Rage (2009)
Rage marks Potter’s greatest departure from conventional modes of cinematic storytelling. It is her most experimentally composed film, constructed of interview segments that seem like filmed by a younger blogger for a undertaking. The film takes place at a New York style home, when a surprising occasion takes place partway by, the interviewees start to unravel. Filled with darkish comedy and attention-grabbing performances from actors akin to Jude Law, David Oyelowo, Eddie Izzard, and Judi Dench, the film is a superb lesson in experimental filmmaking. Potter maintains her creative voice regardless of utilizing this new standpoint; it is a must-watch for any fan of hers.
4/8 The Party (2017)
Coming later in Potter’s profession, The Party is an expertly written and directed black comedy starring actors akin to Kristin Scott Thomas, Cillian Murphy, Patricia Clarkson, and extra. The complete film takes place at a household gathering specifically in celebration of 1 character changing into a minister, though the occasion is taken over by a shock announcement. As the plot progresses, the characters and their relationships start to unravel into chaos. However, regardless of the seeming calamity, Murphy explains to Slant Magazine that “the script was so finely tuned, and Sally was in complete control of it all.”
3/8 Ginger & Rosa (2012)
Taking a gentler method than the final two darkish comedies talked about, Ginger & Rosa is an intimate portrait of a friendship between two ladies performed by Elle Fanning and Alice Englert. Set in opposition to the backdrop of the Cuban missile disaster, the ladies are inseparable, till a pivotal second signifies that they are not. The small particulars noticed on this coming-of-age narrative construct a compellingly actual world and provides nice weight to the occasions of the story.
2/8 Yes (2004)
Yes is one other daring and experimental film, though in a really completely different method than Rage. This time, quite than taking part in with digicam work and standpoint, Potter has written the script nearly solely in iambic pentameter. Rather than producing stilted dialogue as you may count on from this system, it creates a powerful rhythm and power. The dialogue seems like a definite part and even its personal character as an alternative of simply supporting the actors’ characterization of their roles. Everything about this film feels extra intentional because of this dialogue selection.
1/8 Orlando (1992)
Although it was her characteristic debut, it is arduous to argue in opposition to Orlando being Sally Potter’s greatest movie. The sheer stage of ability Potter demonstrated in adapting a novel like Orlando with no prior expertise in adaptation or feature-length filmmaking is unbelievable. Her writing and path are supported by Tilda Swinton’s highly effective efficiency within the titular position. Together, Potter and Swinton transposed the important parts of the supply textual content and the character of Orlando right into a concise film with out leaving something behind. Just because the novel had an enormous affect on the writing of the time, so did the film on the cinematic panorama.