About The Film
’Thus’ is a visual meditation on memory, time, and place. The story of choosing to overcome fears and defying expectations to achieve personal acceptance. A young woman on a journey of self-exploration, documents her solo travels throughout Iceland and Africa, as an existential examination of a woman’s place in today's society. An intimate glance at human life expressed as vignettes of a woman's memory as she ruminates on lessons learned from a specific but never defined ‘You’. The goal of the film is to inspire people to go beyond fear and love who they’ve become.
‘Thus’ is the final installment in an experimental essay film trilogy (known as The Sentence series) that employs tales of love, loss, regret, identity, and acceptance to complete a universally relatable cinematic journey through our modern world through an African-American female lens. I, Aimee Jennings, act as both narrator and visual guide, inspired by Chris Marker’s groundbreaking work “Sans Soleil”. I have taken up the challenge to continue the mental exploration and visual/audio juxtapositions set out in Marker’s thesis. Assuming the position of Marker’s narrator, now on her own travels, retelling her story to yet another potential traveler. The last lines spoken by the female narrator in Chris Marker’s film are, “He writes me from Japan. He writes me from Africa. …. Will there be a last letter?” In ‘Thus’, I answer that questions, “Yes, and it will be from me”.
In addition to Marker, ‘The Sentence Series’ main themes are also influenced by Dante Alighieri’s ‘The Divine Comedy’. The structure starts with ‘So’ or ‘The Inferno’, our traveler is fearful and timid in an unfamiliar land. Then moving forward with more knowledge into ‘And’ or ‘Purgatory’, here our traveler is lost and ambivalent about her existence. But now with ‘Thus’ or ‘Paradise’, our traveler has reached self-assurance and peace.
At its core ‘Thus’ is a film about choices. Ten years ago I made the choice to travel to Australia alone and create an intimate and inspiring film about that decision. Everything you have or do in your life is the direct result of a choice, either made by you or for you. We are born into a life that is mostly chosen for us. So many decisions have already been made; our sex, race, family and social position. We certainly don’t choose how or when we die. After the beginning and before the end of our lives there are so many decisions that it seems we cannot make or have control over.
In ‘Thus’, the consequences of those choices are expressed in tales from my life. This visual memoir manipulates the past, present, and future to form a new version of reality based on the images and sounds presented to the viewer. The two disparate locations of Iceland and Africa act as a visual representation of the human condition of cognitive dissonance. The dark volcanic landscapes of Iceland juxtaposed with the bright pastoral background of Africa visually echo the light and dark sides of our human nature. These two extreme poles of survival illustrate the perception of memory as it is distorted by repetition, location, and bias.
‘Thus’ will be structured around the five main elements of nature: earth, fire, water, air, and space. The intimate narration about the racial and gender discrimination, love, loss, regret, and hope will serve to support the overarching theme of choice. Location-specific landscape footage plays against personal life allegories framed around existential questions and conversation recollections with “You”. The completion of my experimental film series comes at a time when personal choice is both at its height of acceptance and intolerance. I believe that African Americans, both domestically and internationally, are perceived as not worldly, cultured or educated. I want all people to know that isn’t true and when other African Americans see this film they will know that they can capture audiences with their own journeys.
I also want to expand the power of women in the film industry. As the director, writer, cinematographer, and editor of this vast experimental film, I want men and women to see that women, especially African-American women who are woefully underrepresented behind the camera, can accomplish great work with global appeal. Ultimately, the point is to present a film that expands the definition of documentary filmmaking. Blend the lines between essay, documentary, and travelogue. Between fiction and fact thus the nature of film.
An interview of the director discussing the creative inspirations and story behind The Sentence Series and it's most recent entry, 'Thus'.
Thus: The Conclusion is a sponsored project of Film Independent, a non-profit independent media arts organization. Film Independent will receive grants for the charitable purposes of Thus: The Conclusion , provide oversight to ensure that grant funds are used in accordance with grant agreements, and provide reports as required by the grantor. Contributions for the charitable purposes of Thus: The Conclusion must be made payable to Film Independent and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.