Bodies [Tegan Clancy, Australia, 2018]

Our relationships with our bodies are complex and often contradictory, simultaneously sources of great empowerment, whilst also acting as the root cause for unfounded feelings of inadequacy. In Bodies, four interweaving stories of womanhood, unique in their outlook and separate in their tellers, are all united by one question: ‘Do you think you can love yourself if you don’t love your body?’ This uplifting documentary from debut director, Tegan Clancy, ruminates on topics including personal growth, relationship abuse, and sexual fulfilment, whilst always returning to the unifying power of art to express, challenge and grow. Clancy’s tiny snapshot of four distinct women’s lived experiences, offers a window into the challenges of understanding and embracing one’s own self-image.

During an eight-and-a-half-minute runtime, viewers tiptoe effortlessly between the experiences of four different women, learning from each as they go. Bodies’ key quartet of Sarah Belle, Lara Campana, Clare Dea, and Chloe Rackley, all bring their own fascinating perspectives in answering the film’s central question. Jumping between each story, we witness a strong awareness of structure and pacing from the core creative team, as therapeutic interspersed shots of clay model sculpting reunite us around a central theme of acceptance as a “work in progress”.

Whether having our eyes opened to the emotionally challenging world of physical disability, as with actress, Clare Dea’s, relationship with her body after diagnosis of Poland’s Syndrome, or with Lara Campana’s journey as a sexual wellbeing educator, throughout we are reminded that our bodies are shells of fragility, and our psychological connection with them tender. Together, these are four women with extraordinary stories to tell. Actress, Clare Dea, had part of her Latissimus Dorsi muscle in her back removed in order to create a pectoral muscle behind her left breast, previously undeveloped during adolescence. Whilst life model,