Mel O’Callaghan b. 1975 Sydney, Australia. Lives and works in Sydney and Paris.

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Ever Tried, Ever Failed, 2009, single-channel digital video, 16:9, stereo sound, 11 minutes 30 seconds

Ever tried, ever failed takes its title from a line of prose by Samuel Beckett in Worstward Ho (1983) and extends on O’Callaghan’s films where the protagonist is a lone figure engaged in a struggle. A meditation on the virtues of humility and a warning against hubris, Ever tried, ever failedretells the Greek tragedy of Sisyphus, sentenced by the Gods to ceaselessly roll a rock to the top of a mountain only to watch it fall back down under its own weight. Filmed from the coastal cliffs of the Calanques, a lonely figure traverses the craggy cliff face of l'île Maïre, a barren rocky island mountain, ascending only to fall, tumble, and slide down. Viewed from both a physical and emotional distance, the viewer is condemned to watch this futile effort repeatedly. Absent of narration the film verges on abstraction—both sublime and tedious.

Film credits

Performer: Clemens Habicht
Cinematographer: Mel O’Callaghan
Editor and Post-production: Clemens Habicht