Windmill of my Mind
Martin is a film critic for The Age (Melbourne) and co-editor
of the upcoming online film journal Rouge.
He is currently completing a book on Terrence Malick for the BFI,
and beginning a doctoral thesis on film style in the Faculty of
Art and Design, Monash University.
was written by Adrian Martin because I asked him to. - CFW.
Birds do a Magnificent Tune
of Chris Windmill are quietly mad. His films begin from the charming,
irritating minutiae of everyday experience - shopping, cleaning
shoes, hanging out the washing, going for a picnic in the park
- and enlarge them into magnificent, terrifying obsessions. Windmill's
ever-modest heroes and heroines live for no higher purpose than
to fill out the days and minutes of their ordinary lives.
As a consequence,
every imaginable flight of poetry is concentrated in these little
activities. Hallucinatory associations of sight or sound begin
to accumulate; abrupt narrative reveries take form. In this universe
where nothing much means anything and every small detail is endlessly
fascinating, Windmill offers us a homegrown surrealist revolution.
But these fevers of the imagination are tempered by a limpid pathos,
a sense of life's limit and its fond comedy - dreams without portfolio,
knightly quests without faith.
Tower Sponge Film
As a stylist,
Windmill is a surprising, original mix of primitivism and sophistication.
Like other radical naifs of the cinema - like Sergei Paradjanov,
Aki Kaurismäki, Luc Moullet, George Kuchar - he strips filmmaking
down to its elementary building blocks. Static frames, coloured
filters, non-actorly recitations, domestically contrived optical
tricks reminiscent of the early days of silent cinema - one encounters
them in their full materiality, disconcerting, poignant and lyrical.
Then, on this array of familiar devices and gestures stripped
down and laid bare, Windmill proceeds to piece together his own
audio-visual grammar, with its own odd, unique strategies and
the great naifs - and also like those idiosyncratic engineers
of screen gags, Jacques Tati or Jerry Lewis - Windmill forges,
from one mad moment of his movies to the next, a special form
of hyper-logic. The path of his film-daydreams is not simply absurdist
or irrational but, on the contrary, compulsively rational and
systematic. To watch Chris Windmill's films is to be seized, as
in a sudden embrace, by this genteel but fully deranged hyper-logic
- this subjective hallucination which leaves no speck of the everyday
Martin, September 1994
Adrian Martin, September 1994.
to Chris Windmill profile