Review: 28 Days Greater (Calm Down, Dear Festival, online)

Streaming from 1-28 July through Camden People’s Theatre, presented by Carolyn Defrin in collaboration with film-maker Rosie Powell, 28 Days Greater – total running time 46 minutes – comprises a sequence of 28 short films. Some are over in a blink or a whisper; some linger for longer.

Defrin and Powell were collaborators on Kissing Rebellion in the Ovalhouse’s final season (Defrin as co-creator and performer, Powell as photographer). Then the work was thoughtful, celebratory, and dynamic. Much the same is true of 28 Days Greater.

These are moments, pauses, in the make-up of one woman. A story, if you wish, of words, sounds and images.

Released each day, adding a little piece to an ever-evolving jigsaw puzzle, 28 Days Greater covers a month in a menstrual cycle, celebrating it.

It is a collation of films celebrating connection of the spirit, the commonplace of the physical. The miracle of similarity of birth and spirit.

The images are at once beautiful and perplexing. Poetic paintings, moments. These are the elements which drive us, the sounds which bind us. Squinting at the sun, feeling small rough rocks under our feet, the pull of currents forcing our arms to slice through water.

Title card for the short films which comprise 28 Days Greater

This is the acknowledgement of what it means to be a woman with a reproductive system, who has a menstrual cycle, in all its celebration, distress, wonder, discomfort and acceptance.

The short films have a hypnotic effect when viewed as a whole – few have spoken words (some have words on screen). Most have visuals, sound effects, moments which you may recognise.

Water recurs throughout the sequence; cooking, too. The body, positive or negative. The impulses which lead one to gorge on food, throw plates, huddle and cry, or feel the need for sex. The spoken words are poetic, pragmatic, passionate.

This is a sequence of films which you will laugh at, feel touched by, remember your own moment of maturity and your own cycles through those 28 days (most of us, however, develop our own rhythms, regardless of the myth of office workers finding their bodies in synch).

Sign up on a Pay What You Can basis here to receive a link to all 28 films together, or watch as a film is released each day on Camden People’s Theatre’s social media channels.