The gayby boom continues to be a rich source of inspiration for budding filmmakers, though many choose to explore the subject in a documentary format. UK filmmaker Lisa Gornick takes a different approach in her film, Tick Tock Lullaby.
Employing actors and casting herself as one of the prospective lesbian parents, Gornick’s film is a personalised, dramatic exploration of contemporary parenting.
The story revolves around two couples (one straight and one lesbian) and a single straight woman, all juggling their parenting options. The lesbian couple’s ambivalence is echoed by the straight couple’s indecision.
Speaking from her home in London, Gornick says she wanted to break down some of the myths associated with modern parenting.
I sensed that a lot of literature and film at the time was really all about happy, clappy -˜I want to be a mum’ scenarios, she says. A few were brave enough to say motherhood is disastrous and I wanted to explore that ambivalent side within myself -“ especially as an ambivalent lesbian, which is even harder.
With a strong narrative voiceover, the story is told from the perspective of Gornick’s character, Sasha. Her questions around the role of the parents and the obstacles they face in finding sperm define the tone of the film.
Controversially, one of the lesbian women in Tick Tock Lullaby ends up having sex with a man rather than taking the artificial sperm donor path.
Gornick defends that scene, saying it is as a consequence of the chaos the characters face rather than an innate biological yearning.
I think it’s a very sad moment that that’s how she has a child, she says. I know she could have gone to the donor bank but they chose to set out on a journey to find a man so that they could put a face to the sperm of their child -“ they wanted to have this person in their lives that they could name as the dad.
Describing her approach as organic, Gornick develops scenes closely with the actors and films with a single camera and boom microphone. The story is refined in post-production through the editing process.
As producer/director/actor, Gornick is very much in the category of auteur filmmakers, putting her in the company of filmmakers Woody Allen and Jacques Demy.
I’ve always loved films that have the actor that is also the director. I don’t know why but I have always been drawn to those kinds of films from a very early age, she says. It also made it really simple to make. The more roles I did in the film the easier it would be to get it going. I didn’t have to wait for any green light.
Tick Tock Lullaby is available on DVD through Force Entertainment. See www.forceentertainment.com.au.