Indigo Bailey is an emerging writer and editor from nipaluna/Hobart. She has been published by Senses of Cinema and Island Magazine (forthcoming), edits for Voiceworks and is part of Express Media’s 2023 Toolkits: Nonfiction mentorship program.
Location (city): Nipaluna/Hobart
Movie location you call home:
The technicolour umbrella shop in Cherbourg (where Catherine Deneuve learns about love and loss).
What was the film or experience that made you want to write about the screen, and why?
I’ve been entranced by musicals since childhood. My favourite was always Baz Luhrmann’s lurid, polarising classic, Moulin Rouge. I didn’t realise until years later that it’s such a mish-mash of cultural references, so I thought it was prophetic and that everything (Madonna, Elton John) stemmed from it. In retrospect, I think Moulin Rouge kindled my desire to write about the screen because I didn’t want the madness to end. I wondered how I could stretch and refract cinema’s glimmers, touches and gestures.
How does film criticism matter in 2023?
Film criticism matters in 2023 because it affirms that film isn’t a product to just be advertised and consumed. Cinema is actively social – regenerating with every audience, charged by talk, speculation, gossip and memory. In tandem with constant cinema closures worldwide, COVID-spawned isolation has emphasised the sense of loss that arises when film feels dislocated from community. Film criticism is playing an important role in repairing this loss.
What’s your favourite film that you’ve seen this year, and why?
After many years of abstinence from horror, I’ve recently become a David Cronenberg fan and I loved Crimes of the Future (2022). Although I had a couple of nightmares, I also found its whispery, gothic ambience strangely comforting. I adored the puppetry (see Viggo Mortensen’s spidery feeding chair) and the performances, which are obscenely awkward (see Kristen Stewart’s delivery of, like, every line).
Who is a critic that inspires you?
Lots of my favourite critics are Critics Campus alumni! I have to say Isabella Trimboli, who analyses film with such precision and warmth. I always feel like she’s conversing with films, prising and expanding them rather than explaining and evaluating them.
In my fantasy biopic, I would be played by:
Charlotte Gainsbourg. I love how she imbues her roles with honesty, mystique and quiet chaos. (And I keep taking pictures of her to hairdressers!
My MIFF 2023 theme music/song:
Something in between an Angelo Badalamenti and Studio Ghibli soundtrack.