Gently Down the Stream is constructed from fourteen dreams taken from eight years’ worth of my journals. The text is scratched directly on to the film so that you hear your own voice as you read. The accompanying images of women, water, animals and saints were chosen for their indirect but potent correspondence to the text. —IMDb
Su Friedrich’s filmmaking aesthetic arose out of the confluence of feminism and American avant-garde film in the 1970s. Deeply influenced by both traditions, her work nevertheless reflects an ambivalence towards the more rigid ideas of each movement. Early short films like Cool Hands, Warm Heart and Scar Tissue showed the influence of a then-dominant strain of feminist film theory which linked traditional notions of cinematic pleasure with the oppression of women and sought to deny that pleasure through a systematic, polemical critique of it. Friedrich became increasingly uncomfortable with denying pleasure to her audience and broke away decisively with Damned If You Don’t, an unabashedly humorous and erotic tale about a woman seducing a nun.
A brilliant editor, Friedrich weaves elaborate juxtapositions between text (usually scratched directly onto the film), sound, images, and found footage. She first used scratched texts in the dream diary film Gently Down the Stream and also… read more