Steven Ball
Marie Craven
Solrun Hoaas
Daryl Dellora

Melbourne independent filmmakers

Leo Berkeley
Giorgio Mangiamele
Michael Buckley
Moira Joseph

Chris Windmill



The Windmill of my Mind

by Adrian Martin

Adrian 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.
This article was written by Adrian Martin because I asked him to. - CFW.
The Birds do a Magnificent Tune

The films 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.

Eiffel 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 codes.

Again like 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 untransformed.

Adrian Martin, September 1994

Adrian Martin, September 1994.
Back to Chris Windmill profile



Melbourne independent filmmakers is compiled by Bill Mousoulis