Darja Filippova (Comparative Literature, Phd candidate and artist) and Natalie Romero Marx (Montclair University faculty, filmmaker and artist) will present an 8-min fragment from their experimental film Natasha, Prospect Lefferts. The film follows Natasha (24, Aquarius, Ukraine, non-smoker), a pregnant Eastern European woman living in Prospect Lefferts, a low-income largely immigrant community in the heart of Brooklyn. Embodying a male “client” gaze, the camera discovers Natasha among the mannequins in a local shop and follows her on a journey through Prospect Lefferts and into her bathtub. A peculiar object of desire, the “ready to burst” Natasha, in blazer and sexy underwear, engages the camera with a serpentine monologue on love, financial proclivity and her dreams, a monologue that is intercepted with interviews on the topic of dreams and love with members of the Prospect Lefferts community. Through the use of jump-cuts and blur-effect, the film plays with affect and representation, being simultaneously open to condemnation, objectification and empathy. As the film ends, with Natasha sending a love letter in a plastic bottle into the recycling station, the directors attempt to shed light on the perverse juxtaposition of the American dream with the material reality of immigrant life in America.
Darja Filippova (Estonia) and Natalie Romero Marx (Colombia), both immigrants and first generation university students, met in a Pocha Nostra workshop in New Mexico in 2017. Pocha Nostra, the influential performance group, explores and parodies ethnic and gender stereotypes. This is their first collaborative project.