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A short film about gender roles, Trans, and what it is like to have an identity that deviates from the status quo.
Written/Produced/Starring: Ruby Rose
Music: Butterfly Boucher "It pulls me under"
/ thebutterflyboucher
Directed/Edited: Phillip Lopez
Styled: Phoebe Dahl
Top comment from @courtdawg3895
8 years ago
She makes me sexually confused
Two weeks ago, Australian performance artist Ruby Rose released a short film titled Break Free. The piece, set to a song (“It Pulls Me Under”) performed by Butterfly Boucher, depicts Rose’s transition from an ultra-feminine identity into a hyper-masculine one. The response has been loud, though not always proud. Some of the viewers want it to represent everything for everyone. But, like any created work, it intends to simply capture and convey the artist’s very singular experience. The hope, presumably, is that others will relate to and appreciate it, but that’s where the creator’s responsibility stops and the viewer’s discernment starts.
Both the support and backlash are examples of how starved the LGBT community — particularly the trans population — is for positive representations of itself in the media. Along with others, Rose and Boucher have teamed up and done their part. But, like Rose says, “We need more people doing and fewer people complaining.”
Ruby, where did the seed idea for the piece come from?
RR: This is definitely an autobiographical piece. The concept itself was sort of something that was very much like a seed in that it kept growing and growing until one day I quite simply said, “That’s it. I’m shooting my film this weekend. Enough is enough.” Because I was battling with it myself. I had wanted to shoot the film for so long as a therapeutic piece in answer to all the comments and discrimination I have received over my life time whenever I have strayed too far away from the status quo of feminine gender roles.
I’ve had this reincarnation so many times in my life and I wanted to capture it in a short video for others who relate, because we can try and try and be something that we don’t feel inside, but in the end only when you listen to your soul and that heart that beats inside of us, can we find happiness and acceptance?
Butterfly, what was your initial instinct/impression/impulse when you first saw the piece?
BB: Well, the first time I watched it, I was coming from a very technical point of view… How long is it? What kind of mood?
The first thing I noticed was that it was really well done, and that Ruby had obviously put a lot of work into it. When she reached out to me, she only had two days to find some music for it. I really felt this piece of film deserved the right music, so I spent the next three hours going through my catalog of previous albums to see if anything fit, but songs were either lyrically not relevant or, musically, they made the visuals feel more like a music video rather than a short film. I really didn’t want to lose the classiness of the short film.
It wasn’t until about the third or forth time I watched it that it started to hit me emotionally. It started to hit me how ballsy and brave Ruby was for making this film! The scene that moved me was the part where she is yelling at the camera saying, “What the F&@k are you looking at” repeatedly, like she is rehearsing for the real world. At first, I was kind of offended by it, but then it occurred to me that that is kind of how tough somebody would have to be to stand up to the haters out there.
How did you come to choose and contact Butterfly [Boucher] for the song?
RR: I have known Butterfly for years through Missy Higgins and she is beyond talented. Just a real inspiration with an enormous heart. I love her music and I asked if I would be able to use a song. She said yes and was so behind the film she didn’t even have time to mix it or master it, and that’s why I love her. That’s why her fans love her. She can release a song not mastered or mixed and it sounds perfect. And she gave it to me, which allowed me to give it to others. She’s had such a huge reaction she released it for free for the weekend and is getting it mixed and mastered for release.
Tell me a little about the song — its inspiration and purpose prior to this.
BB: This song was actually originally written for a Grey’s Anatomy episode, My co-writer on this song, Katie Herzig, and I were told they were looking for sad/everything-is-falling-apart/but-still-some-hope songs. So this is what we came up with. It wasn’t used and until this Ruby video came up. I had forgotten about it; it had just been sitting in my “Songs to Finish” folder.
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