Rasa Ḑeşéy

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Rasa Ḑeşéy
Born (1967-05-04) 4 May 1967 (age 55)
Mişeyáke, Mişeyáke, Gylias
  • Filmmaker
  • photographer
  • artist
Years active1990–present

Rasa Ḑeşéy (born 4 May 1967) is a Gylian photographer, artist, and filmmaker. She is best-known for her series of direct cinema-influenced documentary films, which have made her one of Gylias' most influential filmmakers.

Early life

Rasa was born on 4 May 1967 in Mişeyáke. She is the oldest of three siblings. Her parents divorced when she was 9, and her mother remarried.

She became interested in the arts at a young age, and made that the focus of her education. She attended the Federal University of Mişeyáke, graduating with a degree in art in 1988.


Rasa began working as a photographer while in university. She began exhibiting fine art photography in the 1990s, and then moved on to video installations.

She contributed photography to several Gylian magazines, including Downtown, Surface, Mişeyáke Metro Mail, CityLab, and The Travelling Companion.

She started working in television on Popworld, variously as a camera operator and a production assistant. The show helped shape her filmmaking style, and was an important stepping stone for future projects.

Rasa made her directorial debut with Nation Building, a 1999 series about the Golden Revolution for GTV3. She was chosen to direct on the strength of her showreel and her planned approach. It was initially planned to broadcast in 1998, for the 40th anniversary of the Liberation War's end, but was delayed for a year due to the amount of work undertaken.

The bulk of her output since then has been documentaries, and she continues to undertake other ventures such as photography, art exhibitions, directing music videos, and collaborating with musicians.


Rasa at the opening of one of her exhibitions

Rasa describes her filmmaking as "half Man with a Movie Camera, half Popworld". Other significant influences she has cited include Lia Fyresi, Annemarie Beaulieu's art hystérique films, Chris Marker, Ŋéida Vaşad's federal election analysis books, and sampledelia.

Rasa's films feature elements of direct cinema and cinéma vérité. She is known for her extensive preparation, aided by "a small army of researchers". Her films feature extensive interviews with as many participants as possible, archive footage, field recordings, home movies, and clips from numerous sources, particularly the National Archives. She employs a fly on the wall style, never appearing on camera or using narration, although interview audio may be employed over footage.

She avoids using text on screen except to denote location and date, and employs montage as the basis of the film. She often uses short clips and cutaway scenes for humour, calling it "my way of making sure the viewer's still with me", and describes her overall editing as "a bit like a DJ, scratching and sampling and making the whole thing flow together."

She is famed for her ability to gather together as many interviewees as possible, such as surviving members of the Darnan Cyras government for Nation Building and almost every associate or collaborator of The Beaties for The Beaties Anthology. Her interview technique is to bring participants together in relaxed settings, make them comfortable, and allow them to reminisce at length. She intervenes only minimally to steer the conversation, and excludes herself asking questions from the final cut. She credits Popworld with teaching her "how to get people to behave naturally and forget there's a camera on."

Rasa prefers subjects related to Gylian history and popular culture. Her biographical work features a high degree of cooperation from the subjects, and she favours use of home movies and similar intimate footage to capture the subject's personality through "little, telling moments". She avoids "telling viewers what to think or opining on something", instead using footage of the subject telling relevant anecdotes or experts interviewed to provide context or commentary.

Her documentaries about people such as The Beaties, Stella Star, The Sapphires, Susan Shelley, and famous pornographic stars, feature the recurring theme of "the effort that goes into building a public image and remaining on top of it".


Rasa's films have been critically acclaimed and garnered notable commercial success for their genre. Silhouette praised Rasa for her "remarkable facility to capture the camaraderie and charisma of her interviewees", as well as her "ability to draw out their interesting traits." Gylias Review described her films as "enjoyable, information-packed capsules of moments in time and space."

Edwige Ferré, commenting on her appearance in Happy Orgasms, stated: "Working with Rasa is a dream come true. You trust her because she promises not to make you look good, but to make you look interesting, and that is the key to it."

Rin Tōsaka, who appeared in Nation Building, remarked that "Rasa has a wonderful ability to worm her way past your defenses, ferret out your secrets, and then keep them safe. She's good at avoiding the risk of her projects turning into an orgy of back-scratching."

Rasa is considered one of Gylias' most influential filmmakers, as her documentary style has been a significant influence on subsequent Gylian documentaries, and has been imitated and parodied by various pop culture works. She says that she regards the latter as a compliment, and "a sign that I really made it."

Personal life

Rasa, photographed at her 40th birthday party

Rasa is married and has four children. She lives in Mişeyáke, in an apartment near the National Archives. She is a practitioner of Concordianism and yoga.

She has said in interviews that she uses clothing to aid her work:

"I like dressing up a bit when I'm at work. It helps me concentrate—gets me in the zone. I also dress in any outfits that will help my interviewees relax and feel comfortable. I suppose if they see me wearing Kaede Nakano or Levystile, they feel like they're in good hands."

On another occasion, she joked that she owed her filmmaking success to "dimples and teeth", adding, "You have no idea how far you can get with a good, tooth-based smile."

In a Radix interview, she described her politics:

"They're all over the place. All in all, I'm a leftist. But I'm also a bit of a Delkorist — I have some romantic tendencies, and I do think some things should be preserved for the sake of sophistication. I like the average quality of appearance that Alscia had, and hétaïres have. I guess that makes me a leftist sautonist? [laughs]"


Year Title Eps Channel Subject
1999 Nation Building 8 GTV3 The Golden Revolution and the Darnan Cyras government.
2000 The Beaties Anthology 10 GTV3 The Beaties, their cultural impact, Making Records and the Gylian Invasion.
2002 Our Cities 3 GTV3 Demopolitanism and its impact on Gylian daily life.
2005 The Band of 20th Century 10 GTV3 Stella Star, their cultural impact, and Neo-Gylian Sound.
2008 The Hurried Province 4 ATV Alscia, its place in Gylian national memory, and its role in regional identities.
2008 Cowboy Bebop: The Documentary 7 GTV3 Cowboy Bebop and Yoko Kanno and the Seatbelts.
2010 L'entrégion 2 GTV3
2012 Our Clothes 4 GTV3 Clothing in Gylias and its status as "the national civil religion".
2013 Happy Orgasms 9 GTV3 The central role that depictions of joy and female pleasure have in Gylian pornography.
2015 Cyber-Revolution 7 GTV3 Gylian computing and internet, and their use for anarchist purposes.
2016 Susan Shelley: A Musical Life 30 GTV3 Susan Shelley and her cultural impact.
2017 Beloved Rascals 4 GTV3 The wicked–evil distinction, and the impish figures it has made famous.
2019 The Sapphires: A Love Story 8 GTV3 The Sapphires, Gylian Sound, their work with Charlotte Böttcher and many others.
2020 The Red State 5 GTV3
Astrid Marett, the Garden Group, and Cybria's history of radicalism.