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David Filipi & Marie Losier
Mar 24, 2020
When Marie Losier visited the Wex last July with her documentary Cassandro, the Exotico!, the status of one of her past films came up during the Q&A. “How do we see The Ballad of Genesis & Lady Jaye?” It was possible to see the film via a couple of streaming sites, but not easily available to most. It was frustrating for those who wanted to revisit Marie’s beautiful and generous portrait of the couple, perhaps even more frustrating for audience members who were just learning about the film that evening.
When musician and performance artist Genesis P-Orridge died on March 14, a grieving Marie shared a link to the film on her personal social page so everyone could experience what is perhaps now the most loving tribute to Genesis’s life.
The Wex was privileged to support Marie’s film, both monetarily through a Wexner Center Artist Residency Award and with a postproduction residency in our Film/Video Studio. For those who might not be connected to Marie via social media or have not seen the link pop up on their respective feeds, we’re excited to share the link now in hopes that even more people will see her film.
Watch The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye on Vimeo.
We asked Marie to share a few thoughts about the film and Genesis in the wake of their passing:
“Gen Gen, as I have always called her, was a friend before anything. We met in a wonderfully funny way without me knowing who she was at all and that is what made us so close without the luggage of being a FAN. She was a wonderfully hilarious person, deadpan English humor, who loved jumping on beds, cooking her favorite dish—her cheese sandwich—cooking with her lace bras, cleaning with her high heels, playing her Casio with her butt…an endless performance of life. I also felt lucky to always have such a thinker by my side, as she was so, so, so smart, and had such an unusual way of thinking; life was art and art was life and a way to play with life and art.
My story with Genesis P-Orridge begins seven years ago in a typically miraculous New York City coincidence.
Before I had ever met him, I’d seen him perform at a concert at the Knitting Factory, the now legendary club in Tribeca. For me, watching Genesis perform was pure enchantment. His words from the stage hovered somewhere between song and speech, deeply poetic, primitive, at times frightful. It completely hypnotized me. I had never seen anyone like him, because his appearance was that of the raw image one might have of a “rock 'n' roll chick,” and yet Genesis was a man. I knew immediately that I had to film this perplexing and powerful figure, perhaps as a way of understanding what I had experienced, but moreover to have proof of the existence of a being I was convinced had arrived from somewhere else! A week later, I was at a gallery opening in SoHo, one of those sardine-can spaces where you can barely walk and hardly breathe. Being relatively small, I got pressed into a corner where I inadvertently stepped on someone’s toes. I turned to apologize and there was Genesis smiling, talking with the Icelandic singer Björk, his gold-capped teeth glittering down over me. We spoke briefly, but in that time, I felt something special had passed between us. He asked me about my films and gave me his email address. Whether it was fate or pure clumsiness, this marked the beginning of our artistic collaboration, one that would develop into a close friendship.
I feel I invented a bit with Gen and Lady Jaye, as the film is filled with performances created by things I set up for Gen—to play with the camera, me, with herself, as our friendship made he so comfortable that she started playing with me always and it brought a quality for me in the filmmaking, and opened her humor to exist so deeply in the film. I never set up a sitting-down interview, so the form of the film invited Gen and Jaye to play and open a new intimate space to share her life. I know that the friendship and trust and love is what gives such a special vision of intimacy on the subject herself/himself.
I shot for seven years without knowing what the film would be at all precisely, yet early on I saw and felt deeply the love that bonded Jaye to Gen and Gen to Jaye. It was so unusual, their approach to art and love as one, that I felt that was the thing to try to focus upon. When I started filming them, I filmed the band and thought it would be a musical film yet quickly I saw it was not enough and not what interested me to just film and focus. The love story is what caught my heart very quickly. Yet, I don’t think in a way of knowing what I am making clearly, I don’t have a goal other than trying to make the best film possible for me, with care and cinema in my heart and head.
So, for example, there was some resistance in me at time when Gen wanted me to film their surgeries and I said ‘no’ as I was not interested in it at all, I didn’t want to film that. Same with the funeral of Jaye: Gen wanted me to include the funeral of Jaye we filmed. Yet I didn’t and wanted to keep Jaye more ephemeral as she really was rather than put her into the ground. At the end when Genesis saw the result of the editing, which took me seven months in my bedroom on my own, she loved the film and cried deeply, saying she would follow me and the film anywhere, forever. It was the best gift and a relief for me. But I had no idea at all if the film would speak to others and how others would view it. It was such a self-produced film—as is the case with all of my previous films—and it was my first feature film, which I had not expected. So, it was a new step into a new world when the film got chosen to festivals and distributed…and Gen Gen was the best partner with dearest Alice, Edley, Bryin and the rest of the band, to accompany the film.”
Here is what Genesis wrote about the filming and our collaboration:
“Marie’s technique is very revolutionary. Most documentaries—and I’ve been in a lot of documentaries, I’ve been in Joy Division, Brion Gysin, Burroughs, Derek Jarman documentaries—all kinds of stuff. But they’re all the same: they sit you down and they stick a camera at you and it’s just your head, and you’re just going blah, blah, blah, blah, blah... and it’s very ordinary. There’s nothing very interesting and radical happening. But with Marie there’s animation and she gets you to wear the most ludicrous costumes and do these bizarre things that at the time you’re doing them you’re thinking, ‘What the hell has this got to do with my life?’ But when it’s all assembled, it’s like Fellini meets documentary. It’s a very new, radical way of making documentaries, and quite honestly, we think that what Marie does and the way she does it will be the template for the future. She is totally unique, very deep with a great sense of joy and emotions below her humor."