Mar 21, 2023
Brydie O'Connor, Florrie Burke
Love, Barbara explores the insurmountable legacy of pioneering lesbian experimental filmmaker, Barbara Hammer, through the lens of her partner of over thirty years. Having only passed away in 2019, Hammer was renowned for being one of the pioneers of lesbian cinema and hugely influenced subsequent LGBTQ+ cinema and filmmakers alike. Directed by Brydie O'Connor, this short is a homage to the life and love of this iconic trailblazing figure and the positive impact that she made to queer cinema, told through interviews with the love of her life, Florrie Burke. Like a love letter, Florrie recounts Hammer’s beautiful films and exceptional vision of the world.
“As lesbians, we need to have a new way of talking - we can’t just adapt the voice of patriarchal language.” - Barbara Hammer
The short begins with plenty of archival footage of both Hammer and her work, some of which has been unseen until this point. It is wonderful and also emotional for Florrie to hear her partner’s voice and see her on screen, particularly in footage that she is only now viewing for the first time. She speaks on the power of Hammer’s filmography and how she sought to replace the male gaze with the beauty of women and women’s bodies. She made films, wall art and installations, as well as performances, all dedicated to womanhood and often lesbian womanhood. Florrie speaks to Hammer’s desire to create collaborative and engaging environments through her work and have women support each other as part of her creations.
It is a beautiful and overwhelming legacy that Florrie has been entrusted with, as she manages the archives that Hammer herself constructed before her death. This short is excellently constructed in that it pays tribute to this archive of lesbian film, as well as remembering Hammer’s legacy as a lesbian filmmaker herself. From the perspective of Florrie being interviewed, this film captures her reminiscing fondly over an incredible life’s work, yet also viewing unreleased work of Hammer’s for the first time. It is a deeply moving and powerful consideration of filmic history, as well as the reality of aging without one’s partner.
Barbara and Florrie’s personal love story was ‘one for the ages’, as they supported each other in life through the strength of their partnership. Although painful, Florrie shares her personal insight into the woman behind the camera and her real life love. This is a gracious and beautiful insight into Barbara Hammer’s life and legacy as it offers a new side to a filmmaker permanently immortalised on screen.
Viewers will not be able to stop themselves smiling at this film and for that reason alone, it is worth seeing.