RED – New stills and first reviews
Posted on
Jan 27, 2017

RED – New stills and first reviews

Good morning!

RED opened yesterday at the Art Gallery of South Australia, as part of 2017 Adelaide Festival, until April 30th; in June it’s set to open in New York. Here are the first reviews, one interview with director Del Kathryn Barton and two new images. Enjoy!

Cate Blanchett is ‘fierce, sexy and scary’ as redback spider in Del Kathryn Barton’s ‘genre-busting’ RED

RED, a surreal, savage tale of female power, is the creation of Archibald Prize winner and now filmmaker Del Kathryn Barton.

Set against a backdrop of intense, pulsating music, the short film stars Cate Blanchett, who re-enacts the spider’s deadly mating ritual, alongside actor Alex Russell and Sydney Dance Company’s Charmene Yap.

Ms Barton said she wanted the film to be “an intensely visceral experience with a lot of intense emotionality that on one level has that core narrative, but can move and shake and be open to interpretation.”
Cate Blanchett’s ‘immense power on set’

Three years in the making, the 15-minute film intercuts human protagonists with close-up footage of the redback mating and then savaging its prey.

The work started as a small studio-based project, but evolved into something much bigger after a funding boost which helped secure a Hollywood star.

“I put my wish list together, I thought who would be the ultimate actor for the role of mother and it was you know of course a no-brainer — Cate Blanchett has immense power in so many ways,” Ms Barton says.

“With someone like Cate Blanchett I was really actually determined to under-direct her.
“You give her the hooks and honestly what she gave to the performances that day, I could have never have asked that of her, she was incredibly generous in that way.”

via ABC Australia

Sex, death and del kathryn barton
A two-time Archibald prizewinner, del kathryn barton continues her fascination with the complex psychology of relationships, sex and fertility in her work RED (now at the Art Gallery of South Australia). This transition into film is as energetic, tumultuous, detailed and beautifully unsettling as her figurative paintings. Perhaps more so.

RED was three years in the making and it’s hard not to marvel at the coincidence of its premiere this week, when female power and outrage has reverberated across the world. RED is a slick and strident feminist work. Although it was not made with deliberate political intent, it has the potential to resonate loud and unapologetic, like a lightening rod for our times.

RED celebrates female creative energy, reaching back to the primordial, evolutionary origins of procreation. Starting out as a modest short piece, it was developed with additional support from the Australian Film, Television and Radio School and the Art Gallery of South Australia.

barton draws on the natural sciences to advance her exploration of the complex psychology of relationships. With RED, she examines mating rituals and the imperative to reproduce as evidenced in redback spiders.

RED is produced and crewed by some of the leaders in Australian film and theatre. Cate Blanchett stars as the protagonist, The Mother.

Choosing to structure the sequence as a set of narrative beats, rather than a traditional script, barton overlays the visuals with a tense and thumping soundtrack. These deep beats pulse through the sequence of jump cuts from intensive macro shots of spiders to the Mother and other human characterisations.

The Mother is at first still and brooding, crouched on a board table floating in a heaving sea, her features stark but for a totemic gash of red lipstick. She wears a classic tuxedo suit, contained and androgynous. And that’s when you notice the scissors.

Those bass beats drum out her fever as she slashes, stabs and sheers through the suit, tearing the fabric from her legs, crotch and torso to reveal a very taut female form beneath, encased in nets. She keeps her patent red shoes on.

Here, as in all her roles, Blanchett totally disappears into her character of the untamed Mother in heat; contorted, sweating and furious with the fundamental compulsion to mate. Pulsing with longing and demand, she signals to her mate with a commanding howl that would have blown Whitman’s “barbaric yawp” out of the water. She is unleashed.

Interspersed between shots of the actors are close ups of redback spiders in the act. The species is known for sexual cannibalism. In most cases, the female begins to eat her mate during or just after copulation. At some point in their evolution, this strategy was found to improve the chances of fertilisation and ensure the survival of the mother and offspring.

The climax is the pinnacle of the male’s existence. If he is selected by the female, he has one shot and that’s it. He has fulfilled his end of the deal and has no future role in parenting. Instead, he volunteers himself as a resource to be consumed by the female for the benefit of the next generation.

Blanchett’s recent work Manifesto (2015-2017) is an interesting contrast to RED: one intellectual and scholarly in its content, the other wild, unscripted and unbound.

Female creative power is an undeniable and vital force of nature. As such it is usually misunderstood, traditionally feared and difficult to restrain. Like barton’s RED, however, it demands respect and deserves to be celebrated.

via The Conversation

The interview with Del Kathryn Barton

via Audioboom

First poster for RED, a Del Kathryn Barton short film starring Cate Blanchett
Posted on
Jan 26, 2017

First poster for RED, a Del Kathryn Barton short film starring Cate Blanchett

Hello Everyone!

The poster for RED has been revealed! The short movie opens today, Jan 26, at the Art Gallery of South Australia, as part of the 2017 Adelaide Festival. Also, a new interview with director Del Kathryn Barton is available. Enjoy!

Cate Blanchett Del Kathryn Barton RED

Best known for her dreamy, poetic portraits, two-time Archibald Prize winner Del Kathryn Barton is about to premiere her second short movie, which is also her live-action film directorial debut. RED features actor Cate Blanchett and dancer Charmene Yap in a tale driven by the redback spider’s mating instincts.
Barton co-directed her first film with Brendan Fletcher. An animation of Oscar Wilde’s 1888 romantic parable, The Nightingale and the Rose, it won Best Australian Short Film at the 2015 Melbourne International Film Festival and the 2016 AACTA award for Best Short Animation.
“I found Nightingale pretty fully on, although I was pleased with the end product,” Barton says. The long-time film buff, whose influences include the works of the late US-born director Stanley Kubrick, wanted to go on “immediately” to another film that “felt more manageable” than the Wildean animation, hence the foray into live action. The result is RED, a more abstract narrative, written by Barton, which will premiere at the 2017 Adelaide Festival.
Barton’s inspiration was the mating ritual of the redback spider in which the little male, having copulated with the female, somersaults into her mouth, offering himself as a meal, or to be bound in her web for later consumption.

“The redback spider, she’s so fierce looking and so beautiful,” says Barton, who sees the surreal RED as a celebration of raw female power. “She’s really a weapon, so she speaks to me aesthetically.”

If the new work seems like a radical departure, consider that the nightingale and the male spider both die for the pleasure and propagation of others. (In the first film, the nightingale of the title sacrificed her life by piercing her breast on a rose thorn.) And both stories play with anthropomorphism, imbuing these creatures with nobility.
The female protagonist is almost always at the centre of the narratives that Barton tries to interrogate but, curiously, she sees RED as her first true feminist work. “It has encouraged me to engage with the subtler politics of feminist issues with which first-world countries are dealing,” she says.
RED del kathryn barton (1)
Surely, I ask her, Barton would also read some of her own celebrated portraits (including one of Blanchett and her three sons, Mother (a portrait of Cate), which was a 2011 Archibald finalist) as feminist works? Both that portrait and RED engage with a fierce, archetypal mother. “Yes, I would,” says Barton, “but at the time I wasn’t engaged in that kind of thinking. They were more just a true eruption.”
“Whereas the film, I suppose, it’s such a different way of working,” Barton explains. “You have to work in a more mindful way and articulate so many times what the work is about, which is very challenging for me. I arrived at a richer dialogue, or a more self-aware gesture, if that makes sense, of what RED means to me, as opposed to the paintings, which come through a lot of discipline, but more organically.” For Barton, painting is more intuitive whereas film requires upfront thinking.
In imagining this story, Barton realised she didn’t know much about dance, so she emailed Sydney Dance Company’s artistic director, Rafael Bonachela. “He recommended Charmene, and she couldn’t have been more perfect.” Working again with Blanchett, recently seen in Julian Rosefeldt’s multi-screen film project Manifesto at the Art Gallery of NSW, was also a delight. “In my experience of Cate, I see her as an artist of the highest order. She puts herself in situations where she’s approaching the unknown and there’s a lot of tension in that moment,” Barton says. “I think she works very well with fine artists, for that reason. She wants to go on a bit of a mad journey and turn it upside down.”
Barton recently received development funding for her intriguing first feature film, called Flower, which will involve a male protagonist and his sexual proclivities, “an everyman coming to terms with an increasingly urgent fetish for flowers.” But Barton insists that she won’t sacrifice her other art: film and painting will remain her two primary disciplines.
After Adelaide, RED will be shown in New York, and later in 2017 at the National Gallery of Victoria as part of a large Barton survey show.

Del Kathryn Barton: RED
Art Gallery of South Australia
26 January – 30 April

Gallery Links:

via Art Guide Australia

Surreality bites in Del Kathryn Barton’s Red
Posted on
Dec 22, 2016

Surreality bites in Del Kathryn Barton’s Red

Artist Del Kathryn Barton pulled off a casting coup securing actress Cate Blanchett for her short film RED, but it was a couple of uncooperative, venomous eight-legged stars that posed one of her toughest challenges.

RED, a 15-minute surrealist film which will premiere at the Art Gallery of South Australia in late January as part of the 2017 Adelaide Festival program, is inspired by the sexual cannibalism of the Australian redback spider.

It’s a fascinating ritual, but also brutal: after or during sex, the male spider offers himself to his female as a post-coital meal, somersaulting into her mouth. If she’s not immediately hungry, she may bind his body and store it in her web as a snack for later.

Barton says she can’t remember when she first heard of the ritual – “but when I did, I thought, wow! That’s so insane and crazy and awesome all at once.

del kathryn barton Australia, born 1972 RED, 2016 high resolution digital video, 15 mins, patrons edition 2/3 (film still); Gift of the Art Gallery of South Australia Contemporary Collectors 2016, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide Images courtesy of the artist

“For me it spoke about the poetics of female power, which is central to my oeuvre anyway, but this seemed like a more uncompromising, brutal manifestation of that.

“And to me the female redback spider is such an extraordinary creature – so monumental and fierce-looking.”

Keen to nurture the professional relationships she had made while working on The Nightingale and the Rose ­– a film project inspired by Oscar Wilde’s story – the two-time Archibald Prize winner says she decided to embark on a new film with the redback at the core of the narrative.

She started out by filming macro footage of mating spiders – under a house in Queensland, in the middle of a storm. And although she eventually captured what she wanted, including the female luring her mate along the web, mating with him and then binding him, it didn’t happen quickly.

“It hasn’t been filmed before so that was pretty exciting but quite stressful, too, because you can’t exactly cue your talent … we were there for five very long days.”

Barton says that after she won $50,000 in funding through the Australian Film, Television and Radio School, her ambitions grew for RED. She decided to develop the project with live actors (Blanchett and Alex Russell) and a dancer (Sydney Dance Company member Charmene Yap).

When it came to casting the “archetypal mother”, the artist says Blanchett – whom she had painted with her family for her 2011 Archibald Prize entry, Mother (a portrait of Cate) – was top of her list. Barton has previously said she screamed out loud when she heard the actress had accepted the role.

“She could not have been more perfect … I always aim for the best and it worked,” she tells InDaily.

“My understanding of Cate is that she really welcomes those creative opportunities … she welcomes challenges and stepping into unknown creative spaces.”

Barton describes Blanchett’s role as “fierce, strong, beautiful, predatory and poetic all at once”.

“Cate does this extraordinary performance where she cuts herself out of a suit, so it’s like she’s freeing herself from a type of skin and her female energy explodes into the universe.”

There is little dialogue in the film, which is largely visual and sonic. Its intense energy is driven by composer Tom Schutzinger’s soundtrack of beats, which reflects RED’s themes of life and death, sex, female power and fertility.

“It takes you on a wild, varied ride,” Barton says of the music.

“It really comes at you and slaps you around, and the film really needs that.”

Red will be at the Art Gallery of South Australia from January 26 until April 30, 2017.

Via InDaily

First trailer for RED, a Del Kathryn Barton short film starring Cate Blanchett.
Posted on
Nov 10, 2016

First trailer for RED, a Del Kathryn Barton short film starring Cate Blanchett.

Hello everyone!

Earlier today, Aquarius Films, a Sydney-based production company, released the first trailer for the highly-anticipated Del Kathryn short film starring Cate Blanchett. The film entitled RED will be screened at the Art Gallery of South Australia, as part of the 2017 Adelaide Festival, and become part of the gallery’s collection. For more info about RED, read our previous post. Enjoy the trailer!


Credits: Aquarius Films

Gallery Links:

A new still from RED has been released.

Gallery Links: