An Artist Reveals Her Many Inner Lives in ‘The Gun, The Cake And The Butterfly’ (VIDEO)

An Artist Reveals Her Many Inner Lives in 'The Gun, The Cake And The Butterfly' (VIDEO)

“When a woman confronts her loneliness, she’s free.” That’s one of the lovely first sentences spoken in Amanda Eliasch’s impassioned “The Gun, the Cake and the Butterfly,” a jarringly constructed documentary-hybrid that examines, and recreates, the tragedy, and the comedy, of her life as an artist, photographer, writer, actress and, ultimately, filmmaker.

The film, which begins in childhood and lands in the present, is about the value of self-awareness in the life of an artist — are you really living your life if you’re in your head, filtering it through the prism of the imagination, all the time? You might say that Amanda Eliasch is more like a character in a book than a person in real life. But in real life, she is, in fact, quite a person — a real presence that I got to know over the course of a few weeks as her distinctive, and promising, self-made doc played LA’s Brit Week. (It’s up for sale at the Cannes market right now.)

When the film screened at the Arclight on Sunset Blvd, I moderated a lively post-screening Q&A that generated more Qs than As (as they ought to). But beforehand, Amanda, surrounded by her reps, and I had dinner, and I sensed her visible nervousness about how I, and the press in general, would perceive her, and this odd bird of a film into which she poured her mind, body and soul. (With a little help from some Brut — though not for Amanda, who doesn’t drink or take drugs, really, and makes that very clear in the film — we broke the ice quite easily.)

As a British fashion editor (for Genlux Magazine) — born in Beirut to a family of artistic raconteurs — Eliasch has lived a life of varying degrees of privilege. But as you see in the film, she is busily reinventing herself through her art at all times. Before “The Gun, the Cake and the Butterfly” was ever a feature, for example, it was a prose-poem assigned to her by her father (“write 5,000 about your life”), then a play, then a short film — all sifted through the wheels of her brain.

Now, of course it’s a feature, and Eliasch is already dreaming of ways to remake it in some other form. It chronicles her personal and professional life — from a rocky start in LA to a celebrity marriage on the rocks — and her propensity for fascinating, devastating love affairs. Though the talented Justine Glenton, a British character actress, plays Eliasch throughout many scenes, Eliasch steps in to play herself in key moments, particularly when a relationship is dismantled by yet another another breakup. 

Her grandfather was Sidney Gilliat, an English filmmaker who wrote for Alfred Hitchcock and Carol Reed. Eliasch has a drama school background. Her love of film and performance shows in this heightened, sensual, exuberant film, which is the stuff of opera. But what’s it all about, in her own words? Here’s an email she sent me:

What does anything mean?
Does it have to mean anything.
Am I superficial am I not?
Am I faking my life or is it real?
That offers some insight, or perhaps even more delirious confusion, into the kind of questions she’s asking. Watch as Eliasch discusses her film (and as I awkwardly lose my Q&A-moderating virginity) below. And watch the trailer here.

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Comments

Inesa De La Roche

It was a real pleasure watching the film by Amanda Eliasch!
The whole complexity of life inside one woman’s world is full of sparks and mystery…
She playfully guides you through her personal stories and deeply touching intimate thoughts… She transforms into many women and becomes a multilayered goddess who masters her own destiny.
Amanda gently undresses her soul in front of the audience, leaving herself transparent and exposed… She expressed her loneliness through all poetic and romantic journey, she gets hurt, she burns and then she rises like a Phoenix, humour is healing in her nostalgic and imaginative world… Amanda rules her creative and seductive Empire with her courage, confidence, intelligence and consciousness… It is her first film and it is an extraordinary achievement! I admire the way she have chosen to make her personal film in her own style, she knew exactly what she wanted and how to express her world cinematically as visual poetry, perhaps not polished the way Hollywood would perfect and sterilise any sort of reality which in most cases completely spoils the experience of real life, but Amanda’s Eliasch film gives you the feeling of purity, honesty of life in cinema, leaving you deeply touched visually, wondering, questioning and mirroring your own feelings through her intimately fascinating and heart braking experiences… It’s a magnificent 21st century liberated woman’s film! The film maker Amanda Eliasch is a passionate artist, unstoppable visionary, she has no limitations within her confidence, creativity and endless imagination to manifest her own visions! There is so much to learn from her film and to be inspired by her honest and unique approach to making films!

Inesa De La Roche

It was a real pleasure watching film by Amanda Eliasch!
The whole complexity of life inside one woman’s world is full of sparks and mystery…
She playfully guides you through her personal stories and deeply touching intimate thoughts… She transforms into many women and becomes multilayered goddess who masters her own destiny.
Amanda gently undresses her soul in front of the audience, leaving herself transparent and exposed… She expressed her loneliness the poetic and romantic journey, she gets hurt, she burns and then she rises like a Phoenix, humour is healing in her nostalgic world… Amanda rules her creative, seductive Empire with her courage, confidence, intelligence, creativity and consciousness… It is her first film and it is an extraordinary achievement! I admire the way she have chosen to make her personal film in her own style, she knew exactly what she wanted and how to express her world cinematically as a visual poetry, leaving you feel deeply touched and mirroring your own feelings through her intimately fascinating, dramatic world…. It’s a magnificent 21st century’s liberated woman’s film! The film maker Amanda Eliasch is a passionate artist, unstoppable visionary, she has no limitations within her confidence and creativity to manifest her visions! Besides she is about to make her new film! It is so much to learn from her film and to be inspired by her honest and unique way in making films!

Hercule

Wealth IS a 21st century virtue, Madame A, and what’s wrong with being right-wing? It was good enough for your Churchill. This piece is of its time, for better or worse. Your outdated, exclusive aesthetic is the true snobbery

Madame Arcati

Amanda is also a right-wing snob who imagines her wealth is some kind of virtue in its own right. A sad spectacle.

xxxxxxx

terrible audio

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