Magazine article Screen International

Helen Walsh, ‘the Violators’

Magazine article Screen International

Helen Walsh, ‘the Violators’

Article excerpt

The film has its world premiere last week in Edinburgh where it competes for the Michael Powell Award and will also play in the Forum of Independents competition at Karlovy Vary.

Had you always thought about moving into film? Before I was a published writer I was always out with my camera. The college where I studied photography was right in the heart of the city's red light district. I was snapping hookers and their johns long before I started writing Brass. At university I did my final year dissertation on queer pornography and the female gaze. In the same year, Baise Moi came out. I applied to study film and gender at Birkbeck College under Laura Mulvey, but by then I had written my first novel and found a literary agent.

How did the story for The Violators come to you? Is this an idea you had been mulling over for a while? The themes of transgressive sex, female desire and inter-generational relationships are recurring leitmotifs in my novels. In the case of The Violators, I wanted to say something about the deeply nuanced and morally ambiguous relationship between a teenage girl and her groomer.

Why did want to write it as a screenplay rather than as a novel? The Violators was born out of its landscape. I always - and only ever - conceived it as a film. The rusting cranes, the dirge of seagulls, the scuffed baby pink of Shelly's nails - this is a lonely but hugely cinematic world I'm depicting.

Was the leap to directing a big step for you or did it feel natural? Are there similarities between directing and writing fiction? It was a natural progression. As a novelist, you are already directing your characters; you are spatially organising them within a scene, you are controlling their actions and emotions. Some of my favourite directors - Lukas Moodysson, for one - started out as writers. I guess the biggest difference between film and the novel is that as a novelist you have complete control over the execution of your vision. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.