You Were an Amazement on the Day You Were Born is a visually rich film that follows a woman through a life characterized by damage and loss, but in which she finds humor, love and joy. With a score that follows the span of Lenore’s life—from her birth in the early 1970s to her death in the 2040s—the film takes us from moments of harrowing loss to those of poignancy and dark humor. Her life is told through voice-over, narrated by performers who range in age from nine to sixty-nine, and is beautifully illustrated with images of animals (including humans), insects and landscapes.

The film features Rebecca Manley who has acted in Clio Barnard's The Selfish Giant, the series This is England 86, 88 and 90, and Channel 4's recent adaptation of Phillip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams. —Emily Vey Duke & Cooper Battersby

The new film from Emily Vey Duke & Cooper Battersby has finally reached the end of its life cycle. If we go back and think about its constituent parts, maybe it started as a larva while they were gathering footage of the cats, prairie dogs, dog-dogs, insects and sundry other critters that we find in their work. The pupa stage is perhaps when they developed Le fabuleux destin d'Lenore, the elusive character at the center of the narrative whose life is related through snippets and vignettes. Finally, its full blossoming into adulthood occurred after repeated massaging, prickling and smoothing of these different stories, threads, images and sounds all into a congealed whole. —Herb Shellenberger

Emily Vey Duke & Cooper Battersby

Emily Vey Duke & Cooper Battersby’s work has shown at the Whitney Museum, Walker Art Center, Institute of Contemporary Art, the Musee d’Art Contemporain Montreal, New York Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival and International Film Festival Rotterdam.
Their recent work Dear Lorde won the Grand Prize at the European Media Arts Festival and showed at Videonale in Bonn, Germany. In 2011, they were shortlisted for the Sobey Art Award, Canada’s most prestigious prize for artists under 40. They have received prizes from festivals across the globe and their work is in the libraries at Harvard University and Princeton University. A book about their work called The Beauty Is Relentless, was published by Coach House Press and the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in 2012. In 2015, The Illuminations Project, a book of Duke’s writing in collaboration with Shary Boyle, was published.

Filmography

You Were an Amazement on the Day You Were Born (2019), Dear Lorde (2015), Here is Everything (2013), Lesser Apes (2011), Beauty Plus Pity (2009), Songs of Praise for the Heart Beyond Cure (2006), A Cure for Being Ordinary (2005), Attention Public (2004), Figure vs. Ground (2004), Together at Last (2004), Perfect Nature World (2003), Curious About Existence (2003), I Am a Conjuror (2003), The Fine Arts (2002), Bad Ideas for Paradise (2002), My Heart... The Lumberjack (2002), My Heart... Drug Addled (2002), Selfcentertarded (2002), Being Fucked Up (2001), Strange Animals (2001), Moderately Paced Video (2000), Rapt and Happy (1998)