four major inspirations
Dominique Tarlé: born in 1949, Tarlé moved to London from France in 1968 with the goal of photographing rock bands. He is best known for his work with The Rolling Stones during the group’s exile in the south of France in 1971. His gorgeous black-and-white images infused with fine grain and incandescent lighting create an ethereal texture. His blue and violet tints were a huge influence on me. The images are simultaneously haunting and beautiful. My first student film ‘So Divine’ (2014) was very much an imitation of his visual style in a moving image form.
Martin Amis: the son of celebrated novelist Kingsley Amis, Martin Amis was also born in 1949, in Swansea. His ideas around masculinity and contemporary identity are fascinating. Many of the tropes featured in his work, including frustrated male protagonists, pseudo-intellectuals, sadistic men and sociopathic women. His dialogue is invigorating and self-hating, his disgusting anti-heroes are entertaining. Many of his novels have noir overtones which again were influential. My first funded short film ‘Her Satanic Majesty’ (2016) borrows some of his themes.
Charlie Chaplin: he will always have a special place in my heart as a complete maestro - someone who could write, act, direct, compose and choreograph. From his early short films to his masterful feature length projects, I have always been impressed with how he uses editing and framing to express his ideas, which comedy critics often single out. Instead of just performing his gags on screen, his films build tension and suspense by intercutting between different storylines, something which comedy films still struggle to do successfully. My web series ‘Loud Hearts’ (2018) is a Chaplin imitation set in North London.
Terrence Malick: after a brief career as an intellectual, Malick began his career as part of New Hollywood in the 1970s. Characterised by a use of wide lenses, freestyle yet beautiful cinematography, improvisational dialogue and natural lighting, his movies are the complete opposite of the typical Hollywood film. Often aimless and ponderous, meditative yet stylised, often with great music both diegetic and non-diegetic, these works are best described as life in motion. I remember seeing ‘The Tree of Life’ (2011) in high school and being amazed. My film ‘Angie Lemaire’ (2019) is a tribute to Malick.