“Life is art, and living it is an art—or it should be approached as an art. Very few do this, but it's really the only way to give to others, to improve one's life, to give it any sort of meaning.” –Marlon Brando
My name is Malin Jörnvi, and since hearing those words by Marlon Brando during one of my first acting classes freshman year, it has been my guiding principle. Up until that point I’d always felt like an outlier, never really fitting in anywhere—“too sensitive for science and too rational for art”—as I wrote in my college application essay. Growing up, singing was, and always will be, my greatest passion, but as school became increasingly challenging, I started to crave the thinking that academia allowed. When I then was admitted into Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, for the first time in my life I was in a space where art was explored and thought about, not only as a hobby, but as essential to existence and I immediately felt like I belonged. I was suddenly not only allowed, but encouraged, to explore aesthetics from both theoretical and practical points of view and, just like that, I found myself.
Junior year I studied abroad-abroad (I am a native Swede) at NYU Florence in Italy. Florence taught me valuable lessons, but perhaps most importantly: Florence took me to my first cinema studies class, and quite predictably, Florence let me fall in love with Fellini. Florence and Fellini lead me to Laura Mulvey’s concept of the Male Gaze, and through Italian cinema I thus discovered, not only the art of filmmaking, but also the power of it. So when my female filmmaker friend, and now co-associate, Katusha Jin, introduced me to FF2 Media, it was the natural next step.
This past December, I graduated early with a BFA in drama and I’m now back in Sweden, biding my time (working up funds) at a fish restaurant and a substitute teaching job while surveying the Swedish film industry and continuing reviewing for FF2, I’m also in the process of applying to UK Masters in Film and Philosophy. FF2 allowed me to further explore the path Fellini set me on, and with my Swedish heritage in gender equality and social and environmental responsibility, I’m grateful to have found this inclusive and progressive community in which to grow. Going forward, I’m excited to take my practical performance practice and my academic theoretical training and see how I can continue to combine and convey, while continuing to learn about the power of art and how it not only imitates but shapes our world.
Referring to two other white men (Plato and Aristotle’s mimesis to be precise), in addition to quoting Brando, indeed has its challenges when writing for a feminist site, yet I believe everyone deserves a second chance, and I’m absolutely convinced that for the future, as the UN Women puts it, he must work for she. Thus I want to end this post as I started, with Brando’s words about what it really is all about:
“The giving of ourselves is the greatest art, really, and it is very difficult to do, because we essentially are afraid that we aren't enough, that we don't have enough. So we hide behind facades—performances of denial. This is not living, but bad acting on the stage of life, and it is unforgivable. We have all done it, and it has to stop. We have to show up bare of face and heart and be present. This is the great challenge, I think. To show up and share the person you are within the life you have.”
New York and acting taught me that the first step in working for any change is to show up and to be present. So, here I am.
For my most recent reviews follow this link. For a more thorough exploration of the possibility and future of a female gaze, read my essay Female Gazing: A Female Look Through the Lens of Cinema, which puts the works of Fincher, Schneemann and von Trier in coexistence.
© Malin Jörnvi (2/5/18) FF2 Media
Top Photo: Me doing what I most often do: think.
Middle Photo: Birthday celebration at one of my favorite places, Two Hands, with some of my favorite people.
Bottom Photo: Filmmaker Natalia Bell and myself at Thanksgiving when visiting Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Virginia.