Message is the medium

Groundcherry Kiss was born out of my memory of Funeral Parade of Roses, a Japanese film by Toshio Matsumoto set in 1960s gay countercultural Tokyo. There’s one scene where it’s just a couple kissing—I’d seen it years ago and it really stuck with me. I loved the camera work, the camera as witness. I also loved working within the constraints of 16mm film. We only had 11 minutes to play with, only 11 minutes to get it right. No special effects here. It just is what it is.


“It’s a real couple and there’s no denying the intensity between them.”

Andy Warhol’s 50-minute film Kiss was also a pertinent influence. Obviously that was much more radical at the time because there were men kissing men, and white and black people kissing. It was a wholly different concept, but it was a strong visual reference for me nonetheless. Warhol once said: “Everyone ends up kissing the wrong person goodnight.” In this case it’s just the opposite. Of course our filmic kiss was staged, but it’s a real couple and there’s no denying the intensity between them. The couple have been together for four years and married for two of those. As a viewer you become almost a voyeur to their intimacy. It was quite a surprise, rewatching it, to see a realness that is so often difficult to capture.