This stunning silent short was screened in the following festivals:
The 2006 Boston Underground Film Festival
The 3rd Annual Atlanta Underground Film Festival
The 1st Annual Twin Cities Underground Film Festival
The Port Townsend Film Festival as part of their Drop-In Theater series
The 2006 Indie Gathering Film Festival (2nd place, Experimental Short)
The 2006 Queens International Film Festival
The 2006 Ellensburg Film Festival
The Muse was also presented here in NYCat DEKK through their Superfilm series
Shot entirely in Portland Oregan on Super 8mm film, The Muse is an experimental short film shot entirely in black and white. The story follows a girl’s daydream of a man who visits her flower shop. Highlighted by beautiful visuals, this unique silent film is mysterious, moving and beautiful to watch. Be sure to catch the latest work from this amazing talent.
Dedicated to the Fallen Walnut Man & Young Lovers Everywhere.
The Muse: A Girl’s Delicious Daydream About a Dangerous Man is a twisted Pygmalian tale of a love darkened by obsession. Fashioned in the stylized aesthetic of the early silents, and shot entirely on black and white Super 8 film, the story portrays a young man who enters a flower shop to catch the eye of a beautiful shopgirl. They begin to dance, and he, enamored by her beauty, seeks to charm her by decorating her with offerings from around the flower shop. As he becomes increasingly involved with the artistry of his creation, of which she is the centerpiece, she becomes increasingly uncomfortable under its trappings, until the scene culminates with his ultimate offering at the pedestal of her feet. This haunting film plays with concepts of how lovers invent each other, often to dark ends. It is a unique silent film, mysterious, moving, and beautiful to watch.
Laura Faye Smith
Written, Directed and Designed by: Diana Whitten
Produced by: Diana Whitten, Alicia Arinella, James Edward Seaton and Josh Cross
Director of Photography: Josh Cross
Gaffers: Derek Hefely and Lloyd New
Costume Design: Sam Kuster
Makeup: Trisha O’Connor
Continuity: Montana Wojczuk
Editor: Alicia Arinella
Additional Editing by: Tali
Music: The Last Tango in NYC by Travis Sullivan for The Four Bags
DIANA WHITTEN, WRITER AND DIRECTOR OF THE MUSE:
Most films start with a story, and from that story images are built. This film started with two images, that of a woman immobilized by beautiful decoration, and that of a man carving the offering of a flute from the bones of his little finger.
At the time I was a visual artist with an interest but no experience in film production, so once I decided to make these ideas into a short film, the first challenge was to build a storyline from the images. I began thinking about how people can get carried away in their inventions of each other, be they idealized inventions or monstrous, and how the reality of another person can be lost when the beholder has decided what to see.
The story that evolved is of a man who walks into a girl’s flowershop, becomes completely enamored of her, begins a courtship of sorts, and ultimately becomes more immersed in his own idea of her, than in her. The girl, at first flattered by his attention, soon becomes frightened and ultimately repulsed by his obsessive antics. As she walks away from him, we realize the courtship never actually happened; the whole scenario after the initial point of their meeting has all taken place in her imagination, and the man who is purchasing flowers is left puzzling over her suddenly and inexplicably cold reception.
I entitled the piece The Muse because of the way the two definitions of the word – inspiration and daydream – intertwine. Other influences on the film include the painter Mucha, the illustrator Aubrey Beardsley, a small library of early silent films, and a stack of kitchy postcards from the 50’s with instructions for love.
This film was made during a particularly nomadic time of my life, when I found myself in a community of filmmakers in Portland, Oregon who were enthusiastic enough about the script that they volunteered their time to help me make it happen. It was my first time directing, or even working on a film, and it is because of their enthusiasm and patience that this film exists. The experience inspired me to come home to the east coast, where I have been working in film production ever since.