Tilda Swinton prefers not to be called an actor.
Despite the fact that she commands the screen any time she appears, Swinton considers herself more of a filmmaker.
In an interview with Salon.com about her latest movie I Am Love, which Grace Chu reviewed last week, she explains that acting is a relatively minor contribution compared to everything she brings to the movie.
“This is something that was put together with paper and string by a group of people who made it happen in a very self-determining way. I suppose my main contribution to this film is as co-generator and producer. The fact that I’m in it feels like it’s taken up much less of my time, and — to a certain extent — less of my attention. It describes much more my activity in relation to this film that I co-produced it.”
I Am Love is the first movie in which she has a producer credit, but certainly not the first time Swinton has been the catalyst for a film. She was, after all, the muse of queer director Derek Jarman. But Swinton and director Luca Guadagnino have been working on I Am Love for 11 years. Why so long?
To Swinton, I Am Love is a new kind of film.
The film accomplishes that goal by “placing the audience in the camera.” In one scene, for example, guests are arriving at a banquet when the camera zooms in on the woman taking their coats. It’s a non-linear movement, but makes sense — as the camera, you are watching the guests, then turn to see the coats being put away, then go back to the guests.
The trailer gives us a glimpse of the intimacy that results.
Swinton’s approach to filmmaking seems to be similar to her approach to her career: she sees what she wants to do and then does it. She told Cinematical, however, that she’s not all that methodical about her career path.
The investment certainly has paid off in a marvelous, if unconventional, slate of films. And she has no intention of letting convention intrude at this point in her life. Case in point: Cinematical mentioned that she seemed destined to be a Dame, joining the great British women actors honored by the Queen. She said:
I have to agree. One thing Tilda Swinton is not, is a dame.