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Portrait of Cate Blanchett

by David Rosetzky

Portrait of Cate Blanchett by David Rosetzky
Video: 3 minutes

David Rosetzky and Cate Blanchett talk about the creation of their video portrait.

This video was produced with funds donated by Tim Fairfax AC.

David Rosetzky: I really enjoy the collaborative process of film-making, and working with a large group of people who are working towards a common aim. It's a very rewarding process. And although I continue to work with installation and other mediums, other photographic mediums, video has become one of the main focuses of my practice, and particularly video portraits. I think, back when I first started, I identified that I was interested in exploring the potential of video in relation to how I could use it to make portraits.

When I was asked to make the portrait of Cate Blanchett, it presented quite an interesting challenge in that I think I had to think about it in quite a different way. I had made a few portraits in the past, where I had combined voice-over with series of imagery.

Cate Blanchett: Every time, I think: I have no idea how to do this. I have no connection to it, I don't know any way in, except to sit with it, and look at it, and listen to it.

David Rosetzky: So, similarly with my other portrait works, I began the process with an interview, where I met with Cate Blanchett at the Sydney Theatre Company, and just had a series of questions. They were questions about her relationship to acting, and about the different characters that she played, and how she felt about them. So that was then the starting point of the development of the choreography.

Cate Blanchett: If I can see it, know it, know all the boundaries of it, if I can see the horizon, and realise that the character is actually flat, that there's not a sense of, ooo, you know is it round, is it flat, am I going to fall off the edge, then I think: ohh, I may as well not do it.

David Rosetzky: Lucy Guerin and I worked together. While Lucy was trying out different choreographic ideas and so on I was filming, just with a little camera, and working out some shots, and things like that, thinking about which parts of the choreography would be useful for the final work.

Because Cate Blanchett at the time was co-director of the Sydney Theatre Company and that was where I met with her, we decided to film the work there as well. There's one particular room which I thought was fantastic, and would be really appropriate for the setting of this portrait. It's a large cavernous warehouse where they make all of the sets for the theatre and I thought that that would be a nice connection or a link to this idea of the construction of fictions, or the various constructions of self or identity, that Cate Blanchett plays out by taking on different roles and characters and so on.