In conversation with Carol Morley

As part of our Celebrating Women in Global Cinema Programme, this March Carol Morley joins us for a Q&A screening of her new film Out of Blue. Ahead of this, we caught up with Carol to find out more about her work and career.

Which filmmakers or films have most inspired your work?

I admire so many filmmakers, so it’s always hard to pick! But if I go back to the beginning of my becoming a filmmaker and to the work that I first came across, it’s much easier. So here goes! The experimental films of Maya Deren from 1940’s America had a big influence on me, for the way that they combined aspects of the personal, the poetic and the investigative. Douglas Sirk’s melodramas I came to love because of their heightened emotions and the hidden meanings behind their popular, glossy surfaces. Alfred Hitchcock’s films are a fascinating study of human psychology and mystery which I think about all the time!

Jane Campion’s short films and her first theatrical film Sweetie had a major impact on me, they are such authentic renderings of girlhood, desire and female subjectivity. Errol Morris’s documentary The Thin Blue Line was a revelation, in terms of how he uses testimony and reconstruction to interrogate truth. David Lynch’s Erasehead showed just how imaginative feature films could be and Nicolas Roeg, for whom my latest film Out of Blue is dedicated, gave me great insights into how film is the perfect medium for thinking about and playing with notions of time.

What can you tell us about your latest project and the themes you wanted to explore?

Out of Blue was inspired by my love of Noir films such as Kiss Me Deadly, Chinatown and The Last Seduction. It is set in New Orleans and centres around seasoned detective Mike Hoolihan (played by the amazing Patricia Clarkson) looking to solve the murder of a leading astrophysicist and black hole expert, but ultimately ending up also trying to solve herself. On the way she meets an array of complex characters trying to hide one thing or another, played by an incredible cast, including Toby Jones, Jackie Weaver and James Caan. In researching, writing and making the film, I was fascinated by how mysterious both the universe and the mind are, so the twin puzzles of mind and universe are the main themes in a story of detection and self detection.

What are you most looking forward to about visiting Manchester/HOME?

Well Manchester is my home town! So HOME is a home from home. It’s a fantastic venue, one that I could have only dreamed of when I was a teenager in Manchester. Every time I’ve visited I’ve had the best time!

What advice would you offer other filmmakers that you wish you had known when starting out?

Rejections are most definitely not indications that you should give up! Rejections hurt but they are inevitable and are just signs that you’re at work and at large.

When you’re not at work, where are you most likely to be found?

Walking – everywhere and nowhere. I love walking around, looking at people and places and listening to the sounds around me. Sometimes, especially when I’m writing, shooting, or editing, it feels strange that I can’t control and direct my surroundings in any way. But dispensing with a map, getting lost and having no direction is very freeing!

See what we have got coming up in our Carol Morely Season here.