"The Making of Jane"
Plus ...Screening History, Production Links
what inspired the making of "The Book of Jane"
Most of the characters in my films are guided and/or misguided by their dreams, both nocturnal and diurnal varieties. In "The Book of Jane", the character of Alice, a Professor of Comparative Religious Studies, was partially inspired by an article I had unexpectedly received in the mail from Dr. Andrew Gurevich called, "Forgotten Wisdom of the Chauvet Cave: The Sacred Feminine and the (Re)birth of Culture". Up until then, I had only known of Dr. Gurevich through our FaceBook associations. In his essay, he claims these ancient cave paintings were linked to pre-Hellenic Goddess worship. Having seen Werner Herzog's fine documentary film on the Chauvet Cave ("Cave of Forgotten Dreams"), I was fascinated with Dr. Gurevich's theories yet found some of his assertions stretching the credibility gap.
This questioning skepticism gave birth to the seed idea for the character of Jane -- who I was initially going to portray myself as "John". I decided against it after meeting Luna Olcott whose innate qualities and personal history felt much closer to Jane's than my own. In my original screenplay, I had not written any voice-over narratives for the homeless character until after casting Luna as Jane. These voice-overs were written and recorded soon after shooting the film itself.
One night while taking my garbage can out to the street in front of my house, I saw a shadow figure rifling through my neighbor's trashbin wearing a miner's lamp on their head. I stood there transfixed watching this person nonchalantly removing certain items while discarding others. This moment struck me with a vision of a shadow world I was only scarcely aware of and one cluttered by cultural stereotypes of the homeless -- a shadow world I wanted to know more about. At that moment, it was also clear to me that the character of Jane was homeless or, in her words, "not homeless but nomadic." Every person, with or without a home, has a story. I felt compelled to expose and destroy the stereotypes many still harbor around the homeless.
Marianne Shine as "Alice" and Madeline H.D. Brown as "Colette"
Over the following weeks, a psychic interaction between Jane and Alice (as characters in my psyche) triggered childhood memories of being raised by two strong Finnish women - my photojournalist mother and her mother - whose occasional arguments never obscured their underlying love for each other. These early family memories soon evoked darker emotions surrounding the sudden death of my 20-month old daughter Zoe (about twenty years ago) -- an unfathomable loss that awakened a voracious vision quest in me that found expression through a torrent of nonstop filmmaking. That was when I decided that Jane was guided by dialogues with her ghost child Brigit, whom she spoke with through the child's broken old armless doll.
Though I originally saw Alice living alone, the more impulsive character of Colette appeared to me as a critical catalyst to the professor's fundamentally stable yet stagnant life. Without Colette, I could not see how the larger story could advance in an organic way. I was also attracted to this vision of three women of different generations sharing the same values and passions that I also saw symbolized in the ancient feminine mythologies of The Three Fates and the Triple Goddess (Maiden, Mother, Crone).
Though all three principal female characters in THE BOOK OF JANE hold feminist values and strong interests in Goddess mythologies, the story I wanted to tell was more about human nature. I wanted to show how shocks and traumas can sometimes act like evolutionary triggers transforming our lives for the better, even though by outward appearances it may seem otherwise.
- Antero Alli
11/21/2013. Berkeley Arts Festival, world premiere.
11/22/2013. East Bay Media Center
12/12/2013. San Francisco Premiere
A.T.A, San Francisco CA.
2/7/2014. Berkeley Arts Festival
2/25/2014. Bolinas Premiere
Bolinas Community Center
2/28/2014. San Jose Premiere
Anno Domini Gallery
3/1/2014. Santa Cruz Premiere
Santa Cruz Institute of Contemporary Art
6/12/2014. Finnish Kaleva Hall
6/19/2014. Clinton Street Theater
2/12/2015. Finnish Kaleva Hall
3/24/2017. Clinton Street Theater
"THE BOOK OF JANE" -- THE CREW
"THE BOOK OF JANE" -- THE DVD
"THE BOOK OF JANE" -- THE SOUNDTRACK CD
HOW TO SEE THIS FILM & OTHER ANTERO ALLI FILMS
"THE BOOK OF JANE" -- MEDIA REVIEWS & STORIES
"A CINEMA OF OTHERNESS: Antero Alli on his films"
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