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How the Light Gets In
A moving documentary portrait of artist and mother Susie Dureau, who uses painting as a way of processing significant events in her life.
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How the Light Gets In

Running Time
11 minutes

How the Light Gets In

How the Light Gets In is a short documentary film about successful Sydney-based artist Susie Dureau.

Susie’s paintings are landscape-based, but the dramatic storm scenes, moody cloudscapes and raging oceans that she paints are much more than literal depictions of the wildness and unpredictably of nature. They also represent strong metaphors for experiences in Susie’s life, and the act of painting is one that enables her to process those experiences.

Filmmaker Notes:

Susie Dureau and I went to high school together, and both went on to study Visual Communication at university at the same time, and although we’d reconnected through social media in recent times, we hadn’t seen each other in person for many years.

I had, however, followed Susie’s career with interest, and had always been drawn to the beautiful work she was making.

After seeing Susie’s last exhibition The Odyssey at the Charles Hewitt Gallery in Sydney, I became interested in learning more about the ideas behind her paintings. Although one can appreciate Susie’s work on a purely aesthetic level, I had a feeling that there was much more to Susie’s work than straight landscape painting, and that the strong emotional pull I felt when viewing her paintings must be coming from something Susie was trying to express that was hidden beneath the surface.

I eventually contacted Susie and asked her if I could visit her to discuss the idea of making a short film about her work. Armed with only a small sound recording device, I anticipated that I would be mostly taking notes at that first meeting, and perhaps recording them in order to go away and prepare a formal set of questions should she agree to go ahead with the project.

Very soon after arriving at Susie’s house, however, she began telling me about her work in beautiful, vivid detail, and then shared with me the story of the devastating loss of Eva.

The informal interview I conducted at this first meeting, and a second interview done a few days later, became the narrative voiceover that guides the audience through the film.

Having suffered a similar loss to Susie many years ago, I could relate to much of what she was talking about in terms of her grief and the way she uses her art to process unresolved events in her life.

Susie’s passion for her work and her family are things I find deeply inspiring, and those who have seen the film so far have been incredibly moved by Susie’s story and the way in which it’s been told. I am very much looking forward to the chance to share it with a wider audience.

Film details
Year(s) screened
  • 2014
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Festival screenings
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