Donna and Daphne

  • Donna and Daphne is a movie about two old ladies that live in a big scary house and eat babies. The film relies heavily on “The horror of the spinster.” This term is a personified dialectic for the fear patriarchal capitalism sells to women within its scope to maintain power structures based in inventions of femininity and family. It is a natural fear of death and instinct to procreate exploited and skewed within these inventions. It screams, “You are going to die alone, sexless, loveless, an old hag, with no children and no money!”
     
    Classic Ira Levin texts such as Rosemary’s Baby and Stepford Wives are revisited narratively and exaggerated to the point of absurdity. Gothicization of the white bourgeois female experience is taken to sarcastic extremes. The subtext of the movie is reactionary, comparing aspects of current mainstream feminist movement to it’s late-60’s firstwave sister, that sets the stage for the texts in reference.
     
    In this narrative, every pregnant woman is Rosemary and you don’t feel bad for any of them. The insincincere, anti-scopophilic gaze permits the audience to laugh. The Rosemary’s are caricatures of heteronormativity, revelling in, at first, then desperately clinging to their objects of capitalism and privilege. Donna and Daphne are the monstrous femenine feeding off unborn children, robbing women of their only access to the patriarchey; motherhood.
  • These are promotional shots for the movie. It was a really fun shoot because two of the models are also photographers. I had them switch off taking pictures and modeling and it really changed the dynamic. Another fun aspect to these images is that the model's and cast actors don't match up. Josie Chumley, cast as Daphne, is modeling Jeffrey's role in this. This is an intentional play on something that often happens with promo shots for movies.
  • models: Natalie Ullman (left), Josie Chumely (center), Regan Bird (right)
    shot by Mara Passio
  • 'The Lounge Singer' is a character who creates context for the whole film. We see her sing 'Blue Velvet' with the opening credits and once more in the crowd of satanists in the big final scene. She is like Donna and Daphne's gaurdian angel.
    model: Mara Pasio
    shot by Regan Bird
  • This picture really captures Donna's personality. She's funny and friendly but she can also be really cruel. You can tell by the look in her eye's that she's got a nasty side.
    model: Natalie Ullman
    shot by Mara Passio
  • Daphne is much more serious and elegant but in many of ways she is more capable than Donna of being truly evil. Kathrine Hepburn is a big inspiration for this character. There's also a heavy dose of Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard.
    model: Regan Bird
    shot by Mara Passio
  • The butler Jeffrey is a complicated character. He has no lines so the performance is entirely pantomime. Despite this, or perhaps because of this, he is the most emotional character in the whole movie.
    model: Josie Chumely
    shot by Regan Bird
  • These are 'movie stills' that I took. They could also be called character sketches. The purpose was to flesh out the characters into an environment and lighting scheme that suited them.
  • Donna's environment is a spacious, dirty, domestic interior, perhaps a bathroom or a basement. Her lighting is very flat and commercial like that of a tv sitcom.
    models: Sarah Pletcher (Donna), Colm Fitzpatrick (victim)
    shot by Katryna Oliveau
  • Jeffery's environment is very dark and organic, he's always digging graves or lurking in the bushes. Here he is in the yard of the house, clinging to the fence like so many brambles. His lighting is a theatrical spot.
    model: Cameron Marble
    shot by Katryna Oliveau
  • Daphne lives in liminal spaces. She's either hovering in a doorway or pausing on a staircase. Here she is inside the walls of the basement. Her lighting is a classic villainous low-angle. She is also often backlit, which suits her well as it is typical for both villians and starlettes. 
    model: Josie Chumley
    shot by Katryna Oliveau