Posts in Category: Animation

Three by Han Shan (Cold Mountain)

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Video animation of three Han Shan poems by John Akre.

How refreshing to see this modern interpretation of Han Shan, and with a reading in Mandarin Chinese on the sountrack! This is apparently an excerpt from a half-hour-long film produced by the Center for International Education, directed by Mike Hazard:

COLD MOUNTAIN, a half hour film portrait of the Tang Dynasty Chinese poet Han Shan (a.k.a. Cold Mountain), will play with OH, SAIGON at 5pm on Sunday May 3, 2009 at the Oak Street Theater, 309 Oak Street SE, Minneapolis, during the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival. Cold Mountain plays first.

Recorded on location in America, China and Japan, Burton Watson, Red Pine, Jim Lenfestey and the legendary Gary Snyder describe the poet’s life and recite poems.

Co-directed by Mike Hazard and Deb Wallwork, the music is by the internationally renowned pipa player Gao Hong and animations are by John Akre. A project of The Center for International Education, the film has been supported by the Outagamie Foundation, the family of John W. Brower and the Bush Foundation.

Deb Wallwork writes, “Cold Mountain is a rollicking, tasty film filled with poetry, colorful characters, Zen wisdom, and witty commentary. The film gives us glimpses of that mysterious–some say crazy, some say enlightened–figure, Han Shan, who left the dusty world to become a hermit and a poet, and in so doing wrote the intimate and inspired lines that speak to us today.”

Mike Hazard adds, “One way to look at the film is to see that literally everyone in the film is channeling the spirit of Han Shan: the Mandarin of Jin Hua, the trickster animations of John Akre, the street singer, the rice thrashers, the Butterfly Woman, the four poetical guides, the monks in the temple kitchen, the bats in the cave, Gao Hong’s pipa, even the cicadas compose a richly layered portrait of Cold Mountain.”

Alphabet by Natalie d’Arbeloff

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Video by British artist Natalie d’Arbeloff. I think it’s interesting how the poem here is intrinsic to the film itself; the text would be difficult to extract and fairly meaningless as a static object without the interplay with the images.

En la calle San Sebastian by Martín Espada

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Poem and reading by Martín Espada

Animation by Kwok Tung Shuen for the Poetry Foundation’s Poetry Everywhere series

Spacebar by Heather McHugh

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Poem and reading by Heather McHugh

Animation by Braulio Garcia for the Poetry Foundation’s Poetry Everywhere series

Burger Man by Gaia Holmes

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Poem by Gaia Holmes

Film by Sharon Keighley, with narration by Lela Keighley

Thanks to Michelle at Peony Moon for bringing the work of this fine English poet to my attention.

Incision by Jillian Weise

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Poem by Jillian Weise, from An Amputee’s Guide to Sex

Animation by John Roberts

From the publisher’s description:

The Amputee’s Guide to Sex is an authentic exploration of disability and sexuality. Tired of seeing “cripples” appear as asexual characters in all forms of media, Weise took on a subject close to home: her own disability. This does not mean that these poems “happened” to Weise in real life. While based on the experience of an above-the-knee amputee, the poems have a life of their own.

Once Upon a Time by Vishwajyoti Ghosh

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Poem by Vishwajyoti Ghosh, narrated by Ramesh Venkatraman

Animation by Nilratan Mazumdar

According to the credits at the end this is one of 60 one-minute films commissioned by motiroti, “a London based international arts organisation.” A link on its 60×60 secs page leads to another site that describes the project in somewhat more detail:

60×60 Secs is the first project of the 360° programme, and comprises of 60 one-minute films from 60 artists, 20 each from Britain, India and Pakistan.

Commissioned via open call both established and emerging artists, working in a variety of mediums and spanning a wide age range, present their unique views on ‘home’. Looking beyond media, political and religious definitions, 60×60 Secs unravels complex identities and stories, and redefines cultures that are evolving in an age of globalisation.

The site includes pages for all sixty films, including this one, containing low-, medium- and high-quality Quicktime versions, a brief description, and more detailed credits. Evidently the poet was also responsible for the drawings used in the animation, and directed it as well.