Sally Potter is a filmmaker that has been at the top of our list for a while now. When Cinema Femme began, “Orlando” was often discussed as one of our top films. Why? Because we’ve never seen a gender bend like that onscreen before. Tilda Swinton flawlessly fits into the landscape of this film, and it really is revolutionary. Sally Potter is currently having a retrospective at NYC’s Metrograph, along with a screening of her new short “Look at Me” , starring Javier Bardem and Chris Rock, followed by a 4K Restoration of “Orlando”. See details below!

“Look at Me” | Dir: Sally Potter | 16 min. | 2022 | Courtesy of Bleecker Street
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Sally Potter In-Person Q&As:
Oct. 7 at 6:15p & Oct. 9 at 6:30p Screenings at Metrograph (NYC) 
Oct. 14 at 7:00p Screening at Laemmle Royal (LA)
Shot in London and New York, originally as part of her 2020 feature “The Roads Not Taken”, Potter determined that the battle of wills between the director of a fundraising gala and a mercurial rock ’n’ roll drummer—and the performances of her dueling leads, Javier Bardem and Chris Rock—were so strong they would work best as a standalone film. Said Potter: “When I got into the cutting room, I saw how dynamic these titans of the entertainment world are together, their volatile, fiery onscreen relationship offset by the rhythms of the brilliant tap dancer Savion Glover. The destiny of the story was clear: it had nothing to do with the other project. It had to become a short film, a fast moving portrait of conflict and love.” “Look At Me” had its world premiere at this year’s Venice Film Festival.
“Orlando” | Dir: Sally Potter | 90 min. | 1992 | Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

A new restoration, showcased as part of Sony Pictures Classics’ 30th Anniversary Collection and screening with Potter’s 2022 short “Look at Me”, making its U.S. theatrical debut. Sally Potter’s utterly sui generis gender-bender period piece features Tilda Swinton as an immortal nobleman who inherits his parents’ house back in 1600 from a dying Queen Elizabeth I on the condition that he “not fade,” weathers a catastrophic affair with a Russian princess and then, while serving as ambassador to Constantinople and approaching his 200th birthday, is shocked one day to awake and find himself a woman, unable to lay hold on her property, which she struggles to do through passing centuries, right up to the then-present-day 1990s. Inspired by Virginia Woolf’s 1928 novel but, rather than following it to the letter, boldly taking liberties with the text, a cinematic equivalent of Woolf’s own searching literary inventions.

Metrograph’s Retrospective Yes: The Films of Sally Potter” titles include “Ginger & Rosa”, “Gold Diggers”, “I Am An Ox”, “I Am A Horse”, I Am A Man, I Am A Woman, Orlando, which plays preceded by “Look At Me”, “The Party”, “Rage”, “The Tango Lesson”, “Yes”, and a selection of shorts; “Combines”, “Jerk”, “London Story”, “Play”, and “Thriller”.

Sally Potter

About Sally Potter
Sally Potter made her first 8mm film aged fourteen. She has since written and directed nine feature films, as well as many short films (including “Thriller” and “Play”) and a television series, and has directed opera (Carmen for the ENO in 2007) and other live work. Her background is in choreography, music, performance art and experimental film. “Orlando” (1992), Sally Potter’s bold adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s classic novel, first brought her work to a wider audience. It was followed by “The Tango Lesson” (1996), “The Man Who Cried” (2000), “Yes” (2004), “Rage” (2009), “Ginger & Rosa” (2012), “The Party” (2017), and “The Roads Not Taken, which premiered at Berlin Film Festival in 2020.

Sally Potter is known for innovative form and risk-taking subject matter and has worked with many of the most notable cinema actors of our time. Sally Potter’s films have won over forty international awards and received both Academy Award and BAFTA nominations. She has had full career retrospectives of her film and video work at the BFI Southbank, London, MoMA, New York, and the Cinematheque, Madrid. She was awarded an OBE in 2012. Her book Naked Cinema – Working with Actors was published by Faber & Faber in March, 2014. Sally Potter co-founded her production company Adventure Pictures with producer Christopher Sheppard.

Follow Sally Potter: Instagram @SallyPotter | Twitter @theSallyPotter | YouTube | Spotify

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