Luci Schroder Leads The Australian Scene For Promising Directors

Raw, subversive, and occasionally perverse, Luci Schroder’s content is at the forefront of Australian cinema without the cultural cringe. Ranging from surrealism and the avant-garde to gritty realism, Schroder’s style is uniquely her own, always delving deeply into the zeitgeist of our times. Be it through obliterating the stigma of female masturbation in Alpine’s video, Hands, or breaking down harsh male stereotypes in Vance Joys vid, Georgia, Schroder always makes a point. The girl is a gun and it doesn’t look like she’s going anywhere but up…

From Melbourne, Australia, Luci Schroder is a force to be reckoned with. A master of the medium, Schroder works in commercials, film and music videos, garnering a host of awards including the Cannes Young Director Award, an Aria Nomination, Nick Knight SHOWstudio, ACMI, Wanderlust Paris, Triple J award, and a St. Kilda Festival Award. The filmmaker’s tonal shifts subtly with each piece but always manages to make social commentary seeped in heart.

Clearly influenced by the likes of Harmony Korine and Yorgos Lanthimos, Schroder unpacks female sexuality and youth culture in her music video for Alpine’s Hands. Featuring a cast built almost entirely of slim and stunning white girls, there is something to be said about the lack of diversity and body shapes in the video, however, the clips main focus is to explore female sensuality and masturbation and it does so outside the bounds of a lot of mainstream media. Schroder combines stereotypically perceived “girly” items such as strawberry milkshakes and bubblegum and combines them with axes and fire to emphasise the sometimes volatile nature of girlhood and associate these things with harshness and strength as opposed to the delicate and soft nature they are usually depicted. The carnivorous way the girls attack and eat the watermelon, paired with their general docile, lazy nature as they make out with various objects references the animalistic survival needs of the girls: sleep, food, and sex. In an interview with iD, Schroder stated that “in the casting interviews, we had people make-out with different things, like pieces of paper stuck to pinboards and walls, or their hand”.

What is probably Schroder’s most famous and most awarded video, however, is for Vance Joy’s Georgia. The clip opens in a lush forest where a group of soldiers navigate their way through a minefield. Limbs fly and blood soars as they run for their lives, typical war movie style. But the real mark of Schroder occurs when the moments before one soldier’s death become romantic. Sweet, and subtle and sad, one soldier bends down to the dying one and kisses him. The camera tracks out to reveal they are on a film set. Faces of crew members paint the screen, bawling their eyes out at the sight, allowing their tough exteriors to erode, become soft. The clip is essentially about men’s love for one another, be it romantic or brotherly, and their need to give and receive it. It is clear that Schroder is down to subvert the stereotypes placed on gender in both videos, a passion that clearly bleeds into her work.

Schroder’s most recent work premiered just two days ago, at this years Sydney Film Festival. The short film, Slapper, follows a young girls desperate and explosive attempt at hustling enough money for the morning after pill and her race to take it. To say her journey is tumultuous would be an understatement as she navigates a low working class neighbourhood filled with drugs, barbed wire and guard dogs. The filmmaker deservedly took home the Dendy Award for Best Live Action for the short. While it is unclear what the filmmaker is up to next, it is damn sure that the world wants (and needs) to see more from Luci Schroder.