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Cinema - Authors - Interview | by SuccoAcido in Cinema - Authors on 09/07/2013 - Comments (0)
Diane Busuttil

Writer and performer of many short films, dancer and yoga and tap dance teacher , Diane Busuttil re- ally gives it her all to leave a mark on people, whether she meets live or they see her many, and highly praised, clips. Dancing and film- making, physicality and abstraction, irony and commitment: Diane, an Australian planted in Berlin, has explored many territories. She’s worked with Be van Vark, Marco Berrettini, Ami Garmon, Post The- atre and Costanza Macras and she’s participated in many theatre and dance festivals all over the world. Diane studied at International Women’s University in Hannover and most of her work focuses on the female body, on its incredible strength (even just in will). It’s an abstract body, released from its context, but even a body that is im- mersed in the elements, from which it is inseparable. A body that eludes the gaze that is not new and free of prejudice.


SA: Who is Diane Busuttil?
DB: An Australian citizen of migrant parents. My father is Maltese and my mother’s roots are Irish. I am constantly evolving, trying to share joy and help others at any moment. Health is important to me as are friendships and the preservation of our planet. “I am a child of the earth no less than the stars and the moon.” Quote from Desiderata poem.

SA: Nowadays you are living in Berlin. Why did an Australian artist choose Berlin?
DB: I came to Germany on a DAAD scholarship to study BODY at the International Women’s University in Hannover. During that time I visited Berlin and it was love at first sight. The honeymoon is over but Berlin and I are still deeply in love.

SA: Often in your films food has an important role. Why this passion for strawberries and potatoes?
DB: Food is so visceral and textural. It smells, it has juices and also tastes good….what’s not to like about food? In Dirt and Desire, my character has an intimate relationship to potatoes which play a strong symbolic role in the film. They are a metaphor for a simple life and well-grounded mannerisms, so naturally with these aspects in mind, the opposite seems terribly appealing – hedonism, taboo and excess which are represented in the diva character. Each character desires a piece of each other to create a balance within themselves. Each character cannot be complete without the opposite….the ying and yang one could say. In Fresh Fruit, the fruit is stolen so again I deal with risk and taboo. Food is one of life’s most delectable consumer products. Food nurtures our body and gives us the vitamins we need from the earth up. Food is an essential life force and a tool I imagine to always work with. I find the nature of food incredibly tactile and playful which seem to go hand in hand with dance and movement.

SA: Fresh fruit, your last film, was shot in Favignana. How did you arrive to this remote and beautiful part of Sicily?
DB: Rosario Riginella from Solaris Produzioni and I met in Berlin and together with Milu Grutta worked on my first short film, Dirt and Desire. I tried for many years to get funding from Germany to shoot the film, and one day Rosario suggested that we shoot on Favignana as his production company is based in Trapani. I didn’t need to change the script too much and the natural setting of the island has enhanced the visual quality of the film.

SA: Dance and cinema. How do they mix? Can dance preserve its power for a spectator who stays in front of a screen?
DB: Both art forms employ elements of movement, time and space to tell a story be it visual or narrative or a mix of both. Both a dance performance and a film can require the audience to remain passive, all the codes are the same, i.e. silence in the theatre, phones off, no loud noises during the show/screening. However, the energy exchange between live performers and a live audience is an experience that can only happen in the moment, even video is unable to document what it felt like. In a live performance, the audience has a choice to follow different information that is happening in front of them and select where to put their attention, I find that with film, the audience’s attention can be directed in a way to gently suggest the ideas and thoughts throughout a film. Both mediums have pros and cons and I can’t say I love one more than the other. What interests me are the tools that I apply to both, which is where my passion lies. My particular interest is the relationship between the camera and the moving subject (actor/dancer). With film, I am able to apply my graphic design skills into choreography and choreography into editing. My short films highlight the importance of movement and sound as the main vehicles for storytelling. I manipulate timing & movements to compose a narrative tale without the use of dialogue. Each scene is a choreography between actor(s) and cameraperson, this spatial orientation between action and camera is a key element in the atmosphere of each scene. Film allows me to be subjective and objective at the same time, as director and performer I am excited by the reconfiguration of the performer/filmmaker relationship.

SA: In Curdled you explored woman’s body and the common gaze toward it. What did you discovered?
DB: I chose to focus on the exploration of what I call ‘body scapes’ which close-ups of the moving body to the point where there is a sense of visual disorientation. The task was to produce as series of intimate frames in which the flesh of the dancer is the limitation of the camera frame. I shot this with a wide-angle lens to produce a grainy textural effect of the skin. This artistic boundary determined the consequence of the dance/choreography between the dancers and the cameraperson, which in turn enhances the intimate textural nature of the work. I was aiming to expose a textural sensuality that can be experienced from the viewer, so that they themselves had a direct experience of the piece; a haptic experience. I have a lot of writing regarding “haptic visuality” on my website if you would like to read about further discoveries.

SA: How about your own way to live feminism (as long as you consider yourself a feminist artist)?
DB: I consider myself to be a feminist to a point. My thinking is not necessarily in line with all feminist thought. I am interested to encourage and support a sense of equality in both genders, to do this we need to educate the masses. Art is the perfect medium to educate people via visual storytelling.

SA: Your performances and your films participated on many international festivals all around the world. What festival did you appreciate more? And what festival would you like to be invited by?
DB: Unfortunately I do not get to travel as much as my film does, however, in my experience, I enjoy the Berlinale film festival for the buzz and the huge selection of films on offer. Frameline film festival in San Francisco is also one of my favourites. Dirt and Desire premiered there in 2009 and I handed out dirty potatoes to the people waiting in line outside the cinema. The audience were very warm and vocal. On 29th of June, Fresh Fruit will also have it’s US premier at Frameline. I received a small grant from AGKurzfilm which will enable me be there to see the film and enjoy the festival.

SA: How is a dancer and performer daily life?
DB: Everyday is completely different. I do yoga every second day and try to be outdoors running or cycling as much as possible. When I am near the beach, I love to go swimming as well. As a freelance artist, I need to keep on top of things and make sure everything is running smoothly. I work on a lot of different projects and each one is different, for example, film, dance, theatre or opera, so I am fortunate to love my work and have the possibility to keep being challenged by each new role or collaboration that I take part in. All independent artists are their own managers/secretaries/accountants etc. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

SA: What about your next work?
DB: On July I will teach my yoga/handstand workshop at the Learning Centre in Polizzi Generosa, Sicily ( On July, there will be a screening of Fresh Fruit at Camarillo Brillo on Favignana. In August I’m playing in an (mostly) improvised film by an Australian theatre director in Berlin. I teach yoga and tap dance in Berlin and plan to come to Favignana in September to teach yoga, I can’t think of any place more beautiful to be with your body and your breathe beside the mountain by the sea.

© 2001, 2014 SuccoAcido - All Rights Reserved
Reg. Court of Palermo (Italy) n°21, 19.10.2001
All images, photographs and illustrations are copyright of respective authors.
Copyright in Italy and abroad is held by the publisher Edizioni De Dieux or by freelance contributors. Edizioni De Dieux does not necessarily share the views expressed from respective contributors.

Bibliography, links, notes:

pen: Frank Angelo, Marta Ragusa


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Dirt and desire ©Henrik Stromberg
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