Corinne and Arthur Cantrill are Australia’s leading experimentalist filmmakers. They have been making films together since 1960 and began their experimental work in 1969. Together they have made over 150 films and prepared 13 film/performance works. Their films have been shown at the Centre Pompidou and The Louvre in Paris, the New York Museum of Modern Art, as well as other art museums and film festivals around the world.
A woman’s life told through hundreds of photographs, recollection and introspection.
IN THIS LIFE’S BODY is an autobiography of Corinne Cantrill from 1928 to 1984, written and narrated by the filmmaker. It is the story of a passionate life and is a meditation on life and death, on film, art and love.
It is based on hundreds of photographs of Corinne, her family and friends, and some movie film. Many genres of photography are represented in the film: snapshots, studio portraits, school photos, candid camera shots and street photos, studies by aspiring amateurs, press photos and work by other professional photographers, stills from films and mirror self-portraits.
Corinne Cantrill writes of IN THIS LIFE’S BODY: “I wanted to trace the story of my life through all the photographs I could find. I borrowed my childhood photos from my parents, and these were a revelation — they told me so much about myself and my childhood. I had not expected mere photographs to be so ‘telling’. They were a trigger to memory, many forgotten experiences re-surfaced.
“I was a child of mixed race and culture, who grew up in Sydney in the mean, bigoted years of the 1930s, in a household of conflict — violence between my parents, and a conflict of ideologies: Communism and Theosophy.
“The telling of the story in two and a half hours has been so difficult — the decisions of selection. I have tried to give the main ‘facts’ of my life, and the rest is a ‘sampling’ of stories and incidents to give the texture of my life experience — accounts of my family life, friendships and relationships, social and political events, my career, and my feelings about my life experiences as they happened. Each phase of my life is summarised in a variety of recapitulative methods.
“I try to understand who I am, in this life’s body.”
In the Oxford Companion to Australian Film Ina Bertrand called In This Life’s Body “an autobiographical masterpiece”
Notes on the Restoration:
Funded by the Library of the University of Technology, Sydney.
Digitisation by Stephen Jones SJA Productions. Digitisation supervision by Margot Nash.
Concept, script and narration by Corinne Cantrill
Rostrum camera and sound recording by Arthur Cantrill, Edited by Arthur and Corinne Cantrill. B&W. Australia, 1984, 148 minutes