Director Jyoti Mistry on „Cause of Death“ and the short form / interview

Born in Durban, South Africa in 1970, Jyoti Mistry works with film as an interplay between cinematic traditions and installation art. Her films have screened at festivals including Toronto, Winterthur, Rotterdam and Durban and in exhibitions at Kunsthaus Zürich, Museum der Moderne Salzburg and Kunsthalle Wien. She has been artist in residence at the Netherlands Film Academy in Amsterdam and the California College of the Arts in San Francisco and was a member of the International Short Film Jury at the 68th Berlinale. She is currently professor for film at the University of Gothenburg.

What was your starting point for Cause of Death?

Looking at the way in which images of women were marginalised historically in the archive or how they were depicted. I wanted to work through the very small moments or fragments across different titles that captured various facets and experiences of women – working with the material even in these tiny nuggets, finding the patterns across historical, geographic and cultural contexts was an exciting inception of the project.

Do you have a favourite moment in the film? Which one and why this one?

The film is comprised of mini-vignettes across five sections and each has its own rhythm, tempo and emotive charge that creates distinctive moments in a short space of time in the film. The woman with a curious and peering-look on her face at the end of the film is one I find haunting. She is an every-woman in a way and yet she is distinctive and her stare straight into the camera is arresting because she demands to be seen.

What do you like about the short form?

The short form requires focus but is freeing – fierce in the best sense of allowing uncompromised boldness and of course for the cynical, it is about finance.


photo ©Dorothea Tuch

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