‘My Grandmother Sits in the Garden’ invites viewers to contemplate on the notions of time, place, and identity, and to consider how, when viewed in the context of eternity, the lines between past, present and future, here and there, and self and other become blurred in a way that problematizes our pregiven understandings of the world. Through this blurring of boundaries, space is opened up for critical reflection on our relationship with our planet and with the other beings – human and non-human – who inhabit it.
The film combines an observational style with a personal, autodicated voiceover in the form of a poem centred around the act of peeling tomatoes – a task I perform alongside my grandmother while visiting her in Italy. Through focusing on this act as my grandmother carefully undertakes it – first by herself, then with me by her side – I bring the audience’s attention to the way in which the small and the large, the young and the old, the human and the non-human intermingle through time and space.
Visually, the use of the outdated VHS format serves to confuse temporalities, giving the film an anachronistic, ‘old home-movie’ feel which aesthetically communicates the blurring of temporal boundaries that the film seeks to explore.
Director Biography – Jack Guariento
I am a 25 year old musician and film-maker from Glasgow.
One of my specific filmic interests as both a film-lover and an amateur film-maker is the space in which fiction and documentary (and art film) intersect; the areas in which the lines between these different spheres of filmmaking may be blurred (the films of Jean Rouch, Abbas Kiarostami, Chris Marker, Margaret Tait, Werner Herzog…). I enjoy films which do strange or odd things, and which try to (re)present reality in peculiar and interesting ways. I am also interested in the way in which documentary film and specifically autobiographical documentary might be understood to speak to different ideas about the relation of the subject to the world – the relation of ‘subjectivity’ to ‘objectivity’ – and the way in which these two categories might possibly be transcended in some way.
I am currently working on a couple of new short films – one a more conventional non-fiction piece, the other more narrative, based on a short story I wrote about a heron and a river.