Had the absolute pleasure of talking with Melbourne girl, Clara Francesca, co-producer and star of romantic entanglement anthology film, IN CORPORE. Available to buy or rent now AMAZON PRIME UK.
The concept was around a four-year process by a trio of ambitious filmmakers who had worked on short films together. Talking personal experiences and reading blogs about relationships, narratives were born.
Clara is Julia, bookending the film with her somewhat opaque journey.
As a person she has had both academic and creative achievements and while genuinely very proud of cast crew on this film, she beams across the screen as a talent to watch.
The Berlin segment had me most intrigued throughout these various stories of love difficulties and choices, done in rare mumblecore style. In Corpore (Latin translation of, a sound mind in a sound body) may not be for everyone but the film certainly draws viewers into unique situations.
Clara was not only easy to be in conversation with, she engulfs superior personality, matched with some interesting obsessions. Enjoy our chat.
Tell me a little about this dramatic and emotionally draining, In Corpore, some viewers may be slammed as others may relate to the stories that emote love from all angles?
CF – It has got to do with body, the question the film asks is what happens to relationships of all forms when communication breaks down. I would describe the film as investigating three cisgender females and their fear of self-identity because they don’t fit in with the norms of society. I would propose that these women are surrounded by naysayers who believe they all have quirks they will grow out of. But these women do themselves a disservice as they omit certain sides to themselves, probably because of fear. The words you used are apt.
The actors involved, including yourself are uninhibited, the emotion is seriously in the forefront for all to see. Was that hard to act in those moments?
CF – It was hard Shane. It is done in ‘mumblecore’ style so no set script. We were given scenario’s and rehearse stuff. I’m impressed by everyone’s bravery giving the audience a lens towards these people in the middle of their discomfort with themselves. Not always a pleasant thing to watch, that’s a reason this is not on major Hollywood studio schedules. But although I like to look at the nice things too, we wanted to look at the breakdown and effect of individual lives. As an actress there were definitely uncomfortable moments within my character logic.
Your anthology segments open and close the film circling around Julia from Melbourne to New York. However, in Melbourne the honesty session at the dinner table was certainly memorable?
CF – I was impressed by the crew during that scene and entire segment. I’m no expert but my understanding mumblecore is actors mumbling their way through scenes as the camera follows, generally unscripted, actors responsible for coming up with dialogue in beats, sitting somewhere in-between improvisation, guided script and raw emotion which is exciting for many, especially in the generation of reality TV shows. Seeing someone in the moment is a little less polished but that scene you mentioned was incredible, two cameras followed us.
You as Julia sat there and I felt so sorry for her saying to her family something so important which should have been joyous?
CF – I came across as extra, giving it all. She’s trying to deflect; it was hard for her to have a deep conversation. All these women including her fight against conventional communities surrounding them. A lot of fear and judgement was going on by her parents.
One more thing is the incredible black top you wore during that scene. Did the cast have their own wardrobe on hand or clothes supplied?
CF – Thank you Shane, yes, we did have to self-source a bit. Co-director Sarah Jane is quite a lovely designer who discussed with us our choices. I love lace, obsessed with lace and see-through fabric from a young age, not to show off or highlight myself, I just love the feel of the soft material.
Without spoilers your final scene is a bit of a cliff-hanger in an otherwise empty relationship journey. Was there any discussion to extend the end?
CF – I am glad you say the word emptiness. Someone correctly described it as NOT When Harry Met Sally. That kind of movie has the genre trope of craving or wanting to bare souls, baring partnership together. My experience in researching for this role, when communication breakdown, there is an abundance of emptiness. There’s space, although space can be healing too, but we look at hollow sad space that doesn’t know how to resolve itself here. I do personally believe in live and let live through communication. The movie works by saying when you don’t know what you want to communicate or vulnerable enough to find insecurities, it creates vast gaps with couples struggling to connect.
Julia is a free spirit in a time of change, right?
CF – She is attempting to conform into a monogamous relationship whatever that means. She doesn’t have guidance into that space.
If you look at the Maltase character Anna (Naomi Said), she could come across as misleading her partner in that segment. But she is just not able to communicate wanting a monogamous relationship with him. And so, it goes on with Milana (Kelsey Gillis) in her Berlin segment, she’s eventually been asked to decide between her love life and her job. Again, creating emptiness.
No need to elaborate but were any elements of Julia autobiographical?
CF – Yes there were elements (laughs) some stuff Shane was for sure.
Are we going to see the further adventures of Julia. I’m interested.?
CF – That would be fun wouldn’t it. An interesting point, but not yet.
That Berlin segment had the most impact its unpredictability?
CF – So happy you think so, as do I. Similarly, after watching it again the other day I have been thinking about their story, resonating with me in my personal life, particularly when one is given an ultimatum in a relationship.
Were you a performer destined to be an actor from an early age?
CF – I believe I was always destined for the acting world, often I would joke I was born in the middle of the St Kilda Festival, a hippy artistic festival.
I was lucky to get into University for med science and law. At 17 I wrote a solo play called ‘Susan Who?’ winning me best actress at the Melbourne arts centre. I was able to study and perform for a while, including musicals.
In 2013 I was invited to join New York City inaugural theatre company, so off I flew not knowing what to expect.
I think this will lead you to bigger projects but tell me why should people choose to watch, In Corpore?
CF – I hope so Shane. It was great working on this piece while looking at confronting issues in an independent way. So proud of what we achieved.
I hope people choose to watch for a true cathartic release and to truly test how judgmental are you. Not a good date movie, but anyone with interest in philosophy or self-reflecting on the meaning of life, this is for you. Maybe Thursday night or Sunday afternoon viewing.
If not an actor what occupation would you be doing?
CF – Always wanted to be a linguist having being obsessed with a linguist who teaches at Monash, Kate Burridge. I admired her very cool lectures.
What movies have inspired you over the years other than Mumblecore?
CF – A movie that comes to mind, not mumblecore, an Italian film addressing the emptiness you mentioned before, Respiro (2002) which I still go back to watch. highly recommend it to one and all.
Finally, what is something potentially few know about you?
CF – Ahh Shane I like your questions, I don’t know how private this is but I am obsessed with the sound of running water (laughs) such bizarre information for you (laughs) thank you.