Netti Hurley directs ‘Women Walking’.
Netti Hurley takes on the male gaze, a one-point perspective of an entire gender that pervades the media.
Commissioning track by Merc The Big Body Benz.
Words from Netti below:
Netti, please can you share an insight into the beginnings of this project?
NH: Brother models reached out to me about a shoot in collaboration with the launch of their Curve board. I was really inspired by this as it felt like a really powerful move for a model agency. A few weeks later I was looking through a Helmut Newton book and saw the image ‘Walking Women’ (1981) and it just made me think about beauty standards, how they exist now and how they are always evolving. Newton’s strength in his female subjects came from him and it inspired me to think about how we are in control of who we give strength to.
Could we explore the soundscape you created for this film a little bit further?
NH: I wanted a female vocal initially – someone with a strong voice in terms of their message and tonality. I had wanted to work with Merc The Big Body Benz for a while so asked her to write on it. She completely killed it, while pregnant with twins and already the mother of two. When we got to the cut it felt stronger to have her vocal over the credits, so you really listen. The sound for the film was a mesh of voice notes and recordings I’ve collected on my phone over the years. There’s an inner monologue within all women – it’s a mix of our own critic, the voice of the media, other people’s opinions etc and these can feel kind of noisy, confusing and conflicting at times, so I was inspired to create something that reflected this.
Each scene/set-up feels particularly focussed, how did you decide on these moments?
NH: I started with pages of notes, ideas and expressions around the identity of women today and then condensed it down. There are multiple expressions that we carefully merged into singular scenes/ vignettes – fixed beauty ideals, unrealistic porn, insecurity, power, sexuality, female friendship, love, pain, vulnerability, strength, endurance and just our casual day to day… to name a few.
Can you tell us a bit about the creative execution of using the linear tracking shot?
NH: Well considering it was self-funded we had to be pretty DIY. The camera was moved manually on the dolly so we had to try our best to repeat it at a consistent pace – shout out to our amazing camera trainee Tara for this! And I love the human feel to the movement of the camera and the slight inconsistency of it at times. Then it was down to our edit and thinking about how we could play around with perspective and screen size to give it a slight surreality when we blended these moments – a lot of it was intuitive and reactive. And then there was the grade which also contributed to this. It was very collaborative – so all thanks to an amazing team.