Phoenix Fataneh Nik-Khakian is making a documentary about Suzanne Osten!
In one of her earlier books, My Opinions, Suzanne Osten wrote, “The things I have written the most about – children and the creative process – are deeply related to my own upbringing. It was a childhood filled with powerlessness and chaos. The arts became my salvation.”
As a filmmaker, a practitioner of cultural studies and an instructor in drama, theater and media, I have repeatedly been surprised and increasingly become fascinated and interested in Suzanne Osten’s body of work. I have long wanted to make a documentary about Suzanne Osten, described by Tiina Rosenberg as “the female Ingmar Bergman.” In the fall of 2014, I started that film – at the most ideal time, when Osten herself had just begun working on a film based on her childhood. It was a golden opportunity to study Suzanne Osten and approach her both as the artist and the individual. I started my journey, camera in hand, to capture Osten’s work, person and persona. Suzanne Osten in three dimensions! I followed and filmed Suzanne in various contexts, both in Sweden and abroad; from the pre-production, production and post-production of her new movie The Girl, the Mother and the Demons to her travels in Italy and China.
Osten’s new movie is based on her book: Flickan, mamman och soporna (The Girl, the Mother and the Garbage) from 1998. The book became a play, a highly popular children’s theater performance, first at Unga Klara Teater and then as a touring show around the world for ten years: Johannesburg, New York, London, Montreal and Berlin. See the presentation of Suzanne Osten’s new film. I filmed and posted it on my blog. Click the link below and scroll to Baker Karim, who starts the presentation, followed by Suzanne Osten and Erik Uddenberg.
Suzanne Osten’s complicated relationship with a psychotic mother and an absent father defined her both as an individual and as an artist. Given her mother’s psychosis and experience of “demons,” which forced her into “slave labor,” I called my documentary film Daimonion.
Daimonion: Lower deities and spirits, similar to the demons of the Greeks, appear in all faiths with a variety of meanings. Socrates’ “daimonion” was a spirit guide warning him what not to do. In Judeo-Christian theology, demons are fallen angels that Satan took with him in the Fall.
Phoenix Fataneh Nik-Khakian