Carving a line across intimacy, art, sex and truth is no easy task. With masturbation bathed in such a heavy light of eroticism, we wanted to bring back honesty and familiarity to its portrayal. Having both shared the same philosophies in reintroducing sexuality to the world, it was an easy choice to bring on Ms. Mette Carla Albrechtsen as our director on the “MY ROOM” short – our first venture into film making for the AVE brand.
Mette’s strides and aesthetics in portrayal of women speak volumes and together we dug a little deeper into her thoughts on intimacy, fantasy and perception.
Let’s start off by introducing yourself
My name is Mette Carla Albrechtsen. I am based in Copenhagen and I have a background in art direction and conceptual documentary film.
And your work?
The visual aspect of filmmaking is very important to me. I have mostly worked as a creative writer and documentarist, but this is an exciting opportunity to step into a more commercial space. There are not a lot of female directors out there in commercial business but… I hope to stick around.
Aside from this project, I’m currently shooting my first feature documentary film. It's a hybrid about young female sexuality seen from a lot of different Copenhagen women's point of view. I'm also working on an anthropological cinematic essay on tourism and escapism and doing research on a new project on young activism.
I have always been fascinated with gender and sexuality and somehow most of my personal films are inspired by themes revolving around that. I'm kind of puzzled by the concept of "a real woman" What is a real women? How is she supposed to handle herself and her desires out there in the world?
The story of “My Room”, from working on it to seeing it on screen, what message does it carry?
The immediacy of talking freely about masturbation is a driving force in the film, to treat it like it's enjoyable and natural and nothing spectacular. Women should be able to express desires without fear of being shamed, that includes masturbation. It's just natural and lots of women do it. I think that is a very valuable message to send out!
With such intimacy with Agnes, how did you set the “mood”?
The key moment was the interview and giving a direct answer to a private question, this sets the mood. It's nice to show how enjoyable and awkward it can actually be to talk about. It feels good to see a girl smile about how great an orgasm feels.
To get this right, the casting of Agnes was very important. We wanted a girl who could both represent a lot of “normal” Scandinavian girls, but who would have a lot of individuality and personality coming through. I’m very happy with the result.
How did you go about creating subtleness to the subject of sex, whilst also having sexuality being a core message?
It's interesting how you can play with people’s imagination within images. Once you say "orgasm" in the beginning of the film everything else will be filled with some kind of erotic connotation even when the character is just touching a plant or doing nothing on her couch. Our human brain is so good at making the right connections without ever seeing any explicit stuff at all. The film taps into this insight – the imagination and brain activity is a key feature for many women when they masturbate. In the film nothing happens, she's just a girl home alone giving small hints of how she likes to fantasize, before finally deciding to go into the bedroom. It's an aesthetic note on a mind game that get's the blood flowing.
How should sexuality and female pleasure be portrayed going forward?
It's really impossible to generalize when it comes to females and sexuality. Everyone has their own way of doing stuff. There are as many preferences as there are women out there. I would actually go as far as saying that it's impossible to visualize unless you have an unlimited number of real women and movie minutes. For this project it was important to give the message that it could be natural and playful to talk about fantasies and masturbation.
What are your thoughts on women talking more openly and more often on these types of subject?
I think there is a real need in women to be able to freely express their desires or just allow them selves to feel what they feel without hearing an internalized voice of negative correction or receiving different forms of judgment from the outside world or media. Females are of course strong, direct, shy and vulnerable at the same time and everything in between that. We are complex crazy beings with the same libido and need for sex as men.
Watch "My Room" here: