Directed by Sally Potter • 1983 • United Kingdom
Starring Julie Christie, Colette Laffont, Hilary Westlake
Made with an all-woman crew, Sally Potter’s bold feature debut is a surrealist science-fiction musical that explores the link between female cinematic representation and capitalist exploitation amid a dreamlike universe of wintry tundras, vaudeville stages, and ballrooms. Celeste (Colette Laffont) is a computer clerk in a bank who becomes fascinated by the relationship between gold and power. Ruby (Julie Christie) is an enigmatic film star in quest of her childhood, her memories, and the truth about her own identity. As their paths cross, they come to sense that there could be a link between the male struggle for economic supremacy and the female ideal of mysterious but impotent beauty. The avant-garde art direction and gorgeous black-and-white cinematography (courtesy of Chantal Akerman collaborator Babette Mangolte) evoke a world pitched somewhere between Chaplin and Magritte.