In real life, masks are terrifying. The people who wear them are up to no good. Actually, I don’t know these people, so who knows what they’re up to. But there they are, keeping something from the rest of us. They hide, but they’re not very good at hiding. Underneath, I wonder, are they laughing or crying? In my films, characters wear cheap masks to forget things, to laugh and cry, and to access a better self. It’s dreamy. It’s private. For a moment, they have everything.
There are few masks in my recent work, but I think the idea of multiple selves, or a hidden other self is almost always present.
I once heard a story about these people, they were upset – one grabbed the face of the other and said: It’s not a mask! I don’t know why I’m telling you this, but I wonder how they feel about each other now, or if they even remember that it happened. It’s the kind of story where the person telling it says: Don’t put this in a movie.
Cam Archer makes films and videos in Santa Cruz, California. He’s currently developing his first feature-length documentary, 1981.
(Images by Cam Archer: second down, a still from Shit Year; third down, a still from Wild Tigers I Have Known)